Budget finalized – Derby taxes heading…down?

Residents will pay a little less in taxes next year under a new budget approved for fiscal year 2013-14 Tuesday.

The Board of Apportionment and Taxation during its May 14 meeting unanimously approved a $37.29 million budget, which includes $16.16 million for the Board of Education. A new mill rate, with a .16 mill reduction, was also approved at 35.34 mills. So, a taxpayer with a home assessed at $200,000 will pay $32 less in taxes next year under the reduced rate.

Mayor Anthony Staffieri was glad to see the tax board approve a budget that gives taxpayers a slight break on their taxes, which he said would range anywhere from “$40 to $70” less.

“This is great news,” Staffieri said. “Derby is one of only three towns I know of so far with a mill rate reduction (along with Weston and Shelton). The department heads did a great job submitting budgets they can easily live with. Everybody worked very hard in doing what was right for the city and the people of Derby.”
Tax board Chairman James Butler said the budget was a culmination of hard work and effort by everyone involved.

“Everyone worked as a non-political, bipartisan board on this budget,” Butler said. “We tried to give everybody what they needed, while keeping a reasonable mill rate for the taxpayers.”

Superintendent of Schools Matthew Conway said he was “very happy” with the amount allocated to the school district, which includes a $300,000, or 1.9 percent, increase. Much of the increase is earmarked for employee salary increases under previously negotiated union contracts, and also enables some new initiatives to align curriculum with statewide standards and implement a new teacher and administrator evaluation program.

A new social worker budgeted at $75,000 had been removed from the budget, with Conway instead saying the position will likely be funded through a state or federal grant.

The overall city budget includes $5.4 million in employee benefits; $3.5 million for the police department; $1.9 million for bond indebtedness; $1.5 million for highways; $1.3 million for sanitation; $1.2 million for retirement; $423,800 for electricity; $275,183 for City Hall maintenance; $263,119 for park and recreation; $248,900 for legal services; $234,609 for the fire department and $203,619 for the senior center.

Resident Dan Waleski lauded the tax board and City Treasurer Keith McLiverty, Finance Director Thomas Thompson and Staffieri, on a “job well done,” and especially for keeping taxes down in a tough economy.

“Thank you for your deep concern for (residents) in preparing this budget…homeowners and businesses must be watchful of their expenses in this recession, and this budget reflects that,” Waleski said.

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