PLAINVILLE - The Plainville Town Council elected Monday to delay adopting its tax rate until the state budget becomes more clear.
“I recommended that the Town Council wait to adopt the mill rate,” said Town Manager Robert E. Lee. “The governor just released another budget today which has an even more severe impact on Plainville. He is continuing to push for municipalities to adopt a portion of teacher pensions, which for Plainville comes to $2 million.”
“He reduced education cost sharing funds even more by another $700,000 and reduced the Pequot Fund to zero which costs us another $75,000,” he continued. “However, I do not anticipate that this will be the budget that is adopted based on what I’ve heard in Hartford. I expect the Democrats and Republicans to each produce a separate plan, meet with the governor in negotiations and eventually come to the final budget.”
Lee said that he anticipated that Plainville may not set its tax rate until the end of the state legislative session.
“We may have to wait until the second week in July before sending out tax bills,” said Lee. “Right now the discussions have stalemated. We will wait until we hear something different.”
Lee cited a Supreme Court decision that involved the town of Windsor Locks which decided that the timelines for setting the tax rate in the charter are not mandatory.
“If absolute worst comes to worst we won’t go forward with some of our capital items, like we did last year, and we may use some of our unassigned fund balance,” said Lee. “We wouldn’t put all of it on the backs of the taxpayers. Our mill rate might also end up being somewhat higher than the original estimation. When the governor first proposed his budget, we estimated that there would be a 0.7 mill rate increase, which would result in a 2.2 percent increase in taxes. This newest proposal blows that one out of the water.”
The previously estimated tax rate, created after the governor’s first proposal, was 34.70 mills.
Lee said that Plainville has managed to be very fiscally conservative over the years, with expenses increasing by an average of one percent in the last five years. This, he said, would help the town to weather the state budget crisis.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Lee again reminded residents of the upcoming public information sessions on the town’s water quality and the Farmington Canal Heritage Train gap closure study.
The results of the water quality study will be discussed in depth June 8 at 7 p.m. at the Middle School of Plainville at 150 Northwest Drive. Officials from Valley Water Company, the town water company, as well as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the state Department of Public Health will attend.
“It is important that people attend this meeting,” said Lee. “You will learn how our system operates, how it is different than other water systems, the results of our water test, our options for reducing the hardness of our water and potential costs.”
The gap closure study update will be given May 22 at 6 p.m. at the Plainville Public Library at 56 E. Main St. at 6 p.m.
“We have begun to narrow down our options for possible routes,” said Lee. “Out of 15 possibilities it has come down to four. This will also be an opportunity for citizens to give their feedback.
“I have been told that it is the top priority from the state that we receive funding for this project and regardless of the budget situation, something like 75 percent of the money for the project comes from the federal government.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.