Next Tuesday, May 3, will be an important day for all Redding residents. It’s the yearly opportunity that we all have as taxpayers to vote on the budget for the town’s operations for the next year. With looming budget cuts from Hartford, this budget becomes even more important. We realize that we cannot depend on grants from the state when determining our budget.
If the recently proposed budget cuts announced by the governor come to pass, the town will be shouldering the burden for about $900,000 of costs previously paid for by the state. That alone represents almost 1.9% of our annual budget.
If paid by the taxpayers, and not taken from reserves, that represents a tax increase of about $230 per year for an average home in Redding.
In addition to the modest increase in spending, the ballot will include a capital request for almost $5.5 million for new HVAC systems at Redding Elementary School and John Read Middle School. That will not increase our operating budget in the 2016-17 budget cycle. But it will affect taxes in the next year.
In 2017-18 the town will have increased spending due to the rollover of short-term debt into long-term bonding. That change will require the commitment of additional money to pay down the debt. That additional amount will translate to about a $100 increase in taxes per year on an average home in Redding. That increase is artificially low for the first year, since funds have been set aside to offset the increase in the first year.
If the HVAC systems are approved, that will add an additional amount to the debt burden. In 2017-18, that will mean an additional increase of about $120 to the average tax bill.
All totaled, if the capital request is approved for this HVAC system, and the governor’s planned cuts happen, the baseline for taxes for 2017-18 will be an increase to the average taxpayer of $450 per year over what is being currently paid in the 2015-16 budget year. That is before any other items such as 2017-18 operating needs.
$450 tax increase for every property owner in Redding!