Hearing Monday on borough budget

NaugyTownHall2NAUGATUCK — Residents will be able to weigh in Monday on the borough’s proposed $111 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The proposal is a 3.5 percent spending increase over the current operating budget. The proposed tax rate is $45.26 per $1,000 of assessed value.

After the revaluation, property values in the borough dropped 26 percent overall, but some properties lost much more value than others.

As a general rule, homes that lost more than 25 percent in value will see lower taxes, while homes with values that depreciated less than 25 percent will see higher taxes. For example, one condominium on New Haven Road will pay $900 less; a small house on Quinn Street will pay $400 less; and a new house in Fawn Meadow will pay $800 more.

Spreadsheets to help calculate individual changes in residential real property and motor vehicle taxes can be found at www.bobmezzo.com.

The Joint Boards of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses will hold a hearing on the proposed budget Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of City Hill Middle School, 441 City Hill St.

“I think every budget that shows an increase during difficult times is met with some opposition,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said. “Every budget is not a single entity. It’s connected to budgets from previous years and will have ramifications for budgets in future years, and I think it’s important not to view it as a single event.”

The proposed budget includes nearly $59.6 million for the Board of Education, representing a 2.6 percent increase over its current $58 million budget.

Alec Wargo, chairman of the Taxpayers in Revolt budget watchdog group, is against tax increases as a rule during this economy, but said the school budget does not seem excessive this year. Wargo said he thinks the joint boards should cut the combined spending increase to a maximum of 2.5 percent.

“If enough people from the town show up and speak out, they usually do have some effect,” Wargo said.

Before last year’s budget hearing, spending was poised to increase 3.4 percent. It was cut to 1.9 percent after the hearing.

Mezzo said officials could make sure the tax rate decreases for everybody, but that would be done only by using financially irresponsible practices that postpone expenses to future years.

“In years past, we have listened to comments and attempted to return three days later to reduce the overall impact,” Mezzo said. “There’s not a lot left to cut.”