Lauretti’s budget proposes tax decrease

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti presented a $123,331,031 budget proposal for the 2017-2018 fiscal year in a joint meeting between the city’s the Board of Apportionment & Taxation and Board of Aldermen, which would translate into a small decrease in taxes if approved.

If accepted, the proposal would result in the city’s mill rate decreasing from 22.31 to 22.21 mills, according to Lauretti’s budget presentation. The decrease in the mill rate would be the first change in the past four years.

The presented decrease in taxes helps Lauretti to maintain his reputation of keeping taxes low, despite the cuts to education cost sharing and added responsibility of funding 1/3 of teacher's pensions proposed by the governor.

Lauretti’s proposed budget represents a .8% or $946,377 increase from the 2016-17 budget which was $122,384,654.

Flat education budget proposal

With a modest increase described in Lauretti’s overall budget proposal, the city’s Board of Education had concerns raised when it was announced that the mayor had allocated the same $70,470,000 budget that was approved last year. The board of ed submitted a request for $1.98 million more than what the mayor proposed.

Board of Ed Chairman Mark Holden said he’s hopeful that the amount the board is ultimately allocated will increase by the time the city’s budget is finalized. If the budget was passed as presented, Holden said he’d be worried about the cuts to education staffing the board could be forced to make.

Lauretti said even if the Aldermen alter his budget proposal for the city’s board of education, he is doubtful that it will receive the near $2 million increase it requested.

What now?

The tax board is scheduled to meet today, March 23, in city hall to design a workshop schedule where they will analyze city departments’ budget proposals. Following the completion of its scheduled meetings, the tax board has to submit its budget proposal to the Board of Aldermen.

The Aldermen have to finalize the city budget by May 31.