State budget stalemate forced towns to set budgets and tax rates blindly

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Cities and town leaders across the state have had to blindly set their municipal budget and tax rates because of the budget stalemate at the State Capitol. It’s causing an unprecedented budget situation for city and town leaders.

Half of the towns in a survey by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities report service cutbacks, hiring freezes, and deferring public works projects.

The first installment of of local ‘Property Tax‘ bills is due by one week from today so there’s a steady stream of people at local ‘Tax Collectors’ offices around the state. The bills this year are really just a guess at what you owe because city and town leaders have had to prepare municipal budgets not knowing when or if any of the usual aid from the state is going to arrive.

Four term Republican First Selectman Mike Freda of North Haven is one of the municipal leaders that has put together a budget with no tax increase. Like some other towns he has a rainy day fund but knows it won’t last forever.

We had a couple of people leave and we have not replaced them yet. We’re putting a hold on spending right now until we have a determination or receive a determination as to what the state revenue is going to be for us.”

See Related: House GOP budget plan calls for no tax hikes

The Speaker of the House keeps saying he’s optimistic about having a budget plan in place by the end of the month but almost no one else at the Capitol believes that will happen.  “We’ve got to get to a complete budget and the sooner we do it the better,” said Governor Malloy adding,  “and quite frankly I don’t get to set the rules or call the questions in the House or the Senate.”

If this does drag for months, town and city leaders have few options.   “One would be a supplementary tax bill which we’re not planning on doing here in North Haven. The second would be a decimation of services which I’m trying to stay away from,” said Freda.

See Related: Capitol Report: Concession deal discussed and democrats call for higher taxes on wealthy to make up deficit

The one good thing about getting your local Property Tax bill by July 1st is that you know what the second payment is going to be in January and can plan ahead.  But for some communities, that may not happen this year.  “If the bottom drops out, that’s where you could see a second tax bill coming in January,” said Kevin Maloney of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

For a town like North Haven there’s a third option; don’t do anything because they have a rainy day fund they have a new Amazon warehouse coming town town which will greatly improve their tax base but many other communities may not be so fortunate.

 

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s