The City Council’s Finance Committee Tuesday night approved a 2012-13 city budget of roughly $186 million, reflecting a 1.4 percent spending increase over the previous year’s. The proposed budget goes before the entire council for a vote Monday, May 7.
City Manager Lawrence Kendzior told committee members that 44 percent of the budget increase is due to costs for retiree benefits.
“We are essentially making up for years and years when the retiree program was not funded at all,” he said. Putting money into the retiree fund now will avoid placing undue burden on the city in the future when it comes time to pay out these benefits, he said.
The rest of the increase mainly covers public safety needs, including police officers and firefighters. Hiring additional public safety personnel will help with chronic overtime costs, Kendzior added.
“Residents and taxpayers have high regard for our public safety officials and want to see them funded properly,” he said.
Majority of Residents to See Tax Decrease
Despite a spending increase, Kendzior maintained that 65 percent of Meriden residents will see a tax decrease. Another 18 percent will see an increase of 5 percent or less.
The mill rate will rise from the current 29.83 to 34.70, but owners of the average-value home in Meriden will pay $163 less in taxes, said city Finance Director Mike Lupkas. The tax decrease is largely due to the city’s five-year property revaluation, which lowered the value of most homes from their 2006 worth.
Click here for an in-depth look at the proposed budget.