SOUTHINGTON — The Town Council unanimously approved town and education budgets Monday that will result in no tax increases for the next fiscal year.
Council leaders credited the state budget passed last week, which included restored municipal aid.
The approved 2018-19 town government budget is just over $53 million. The school district budget is $95.8 million.
Until last week, town leaders were bracing for a tough budget situation similar to last year when the state withdrew millions of dollars in education grants and other funding.
“This is huge. This wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration of our local boards as well as cooperation from the state of Connecticut,” Town Council Chairman Chris Palmieri, a Democrat, said of the zero-tax-increase budget.
Democrats campaigned last year on a platform of no tax increases.
In March, the Board of Finance unanimously approved a budget of $95.3 million for school funding. The board also unanimously approved a general government budget of $53 million.
The Board of Education had requested $96.8 million for the upcoming fiscal year.
Palmieri said the “windfall” from the state allowed an additional increase of just over $500,000 to the school district.
Victoria Triano, the council’s Republican minority leader, said the maintenance of services and the increased education funding wasn’t “creative hocus pocus” on the part of the town.
“We were extremely fortunate to receive this from the state,” she said. “We had cut our budgets as much as we possibly could.”
Tom Lombardi, a Republican councilor, said that while he’s glad about the money this year, he questioned whether the state’s financial situation had fundamentally changed.
“At the end of the day, we’re all Connecticut residents. All this has to get paid for in some way, shape or form,” he said. “We need to look at the big picture.”
John Barry, a Democratic councilor, said the council wasn’t being frivolous with the unexpected state aid.
“We are saying, ‘No tax increase,’” he said.
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