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Cassetti Proposes Tax Decrease In Ansonia

by Ethan Fry | Feb 8, 2016 8:26 pm

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Posted to: Ansonia, Ansonia Budget, Navel Gazing: The Valley Indy Podcast

Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti has proposed a 2016-2017 budget that would lower the tax rate by 0.33 mill.

That means a person with a house assessed at $150,000 would save about 50 bucks in property taxes if the spending plan is adopted.

The city’s tax board will have a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

The board has until March 8 to pass a budget to the Board of Aldermen, who have until April 30 to finalize it.

Earlier Monday, Cassetti was the guest on “Valley Navel Gazing,” where he talked about everything from regionalizing government to recent burglaries on the city’s hilltop. Click play to listen.

The proposal Cassetti unveiled to the tax board Monday would increase spending citywide 1.05 percent, or $652,820, over last year’s budget.

The bottom line on the plan is $63,047,918.

photo:ethan frySchools

Cassetti’s plan calls for a $30,805,484 budget for the Board of Education, with a 2.5 percent, or $752,389, increase in funding from last year.

That’s about $1.3 million less than the amount the school board requested last week.

School administrators have warned of dire consequences if the request had to be trimmed much.

Cassetti said he “contemplated the (school district’s) request and am proposing a compromise.”

The mayor said his proposal was contingent on the school district’s union employees moving to a a high-deductible health care plan with health savings accounts.

The city’s cops and city hall employees, along with the Department of Public Works, have all moved to the lower-cost plans during contract negotiations in the past year.

Cassetti said that has saved the city more than $1 million.

Bringing the school district’s unions into the fold would save another $600,000, Cassetti said.

But the school district’s employees would have to vote to reopen contracts that are due to run until at least next year.

Cassetti said he has asked them to agree to so-called “midterm bargaining.”

“I have full faith that our Board of Education employees will step up and meet the city halfway, just as Ansonia police and municipal employees did last year,” Cassetti said to the tax board.

Click play on the video above to see the mayor talk about the school budget.

Numbers

Cassetti said the overall budget is built on a “rock solid” financial foundation — a $3.5 million increase to the grand list, a forecasted increase in tax collection rates, and an uptick in land use departments permits and fines.

Article continues after video of Cassetti talking about the budget.

The spending plan also takes $2.5 million from the city’s fund balance and counts it as revenue, a step the mayor said after the meeting was necessary to deliver a tax cut to residents.

During last year’s election Democrats criticized Cassetti and Republicans for borrowing from the city’s fund balance to pay for tax decreases. The mayor and city officials countered that the fund balance was too high when they came into office. Click here to read more background.

Elsewhere in the budget, the Assessor’s Office would see a year-over-year increase of nearly 130 percent — from $144,285 to $331,349 — to build up funds for a revaluation to be completed in 2017.

The fire department would see an increase of 12.41 percent year over year in the mayor’s plan — from $253,750 to $285,250 — and the economic development office would see an 11.06 percent increase, from $128,760 to $143,004.

The city would invest just over $100,000 in capital improvements under the plan, an increase of more than 150 percent in that line item, in anticipation of a long-range capital plan totaling more than $20 million to be voted on at a May referendum. The plan is due to be discussed by Aldermen Tuesday.

Cassetti called the tax cut “modest and sustainable” in remarks to the tax board.

The mayor’s budget proposal is posted below.

MAYORS-BUDGET-FY_16-17-2-05-2016-1500-website

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