We are proposing a 1.2% budget increase to maintain our same level of services. Additionally, another 1.2% increase will provide an additional public safety dispatcher (funded in part by the Town of Milton); additional police overtime of $25,653; an increase of $45,648 to support our volunteer fire departments; and $23,684 in mandated State stormwater costs. These proposed additions result in a 2.4% budget increase overall; however, we will be continuing a three year trend of lower tax rate increases for another year.
Cost Containment Measures
Conducted an energy audit of all facilities and reduced energy consumption.
In process of restructuring police vehicle fleet with more fuel efficient vehicles and to reduce fit-up costs.
Focused on non-tax revenues for support of operating expenses. Budgeted non-tax revenues are projected to increase 5.1% by our increasing building permit fees and ambulance service fees.
Obtained grants for critical infrastructure improvements.
Shared equipment and services with other municipalities.
Emphasized employee safety and wellness.
Renegotiated bond interest rates and terms as well as various service contracts.
Our preliminary conservative estimate is that a 2.4% budget increase will increase the tax rate by about 3/4 of 1 cent per hundred dollars of property valuation, or 1.3%. For a home valued at $300,000, this translates into an annual increase of $21.30 per year. If we see increased grand list growth over the next five months, this amount may be even lower. The local option tax, which began to be assessed in October, is being used to pay for our debt service which is $643,136 and also contributes to the lower tax rate.
On January 15, as part of their Town Meeting 2016 coverage, LCATV recorded a presentation on the Town of Colchester's proposed Annual Budget and Capital Plans.
The presentation was hosted by LCATV Executive Director Kevin Christopher, and includes Chair of the Selectboard Nadine Scibek, Town Manager Dawn Francis, Assistant Town Manager/Chief Financial Officer Aaron Frank, Director of Public Works Bryan Osborne, and Director of Parks & Recreation Glen Cuttitta.