SOUTHINGTON — The Board of Finance voted to forward a $154.3 million fiscal 2021 budget recommendation to the Town Council.
The vote came during a special meeting Monday night via telephone conference.
In two separate votes, the board adopted the town general government budget and the Board of Education budget. Both votes were decided by a 4 to 2 margin.
Board Vice Chairman Joseph Labieniec and board member Tony Morrison, both Republicans, voted against both motions.
Morrison said there should be no tax increases. He cited concerns due to COVID-19, which he described as a “time of great crisis” and uncertainty, and said he did not believe the town should be imposing more tax burdens on residents and businesses.
“We do not know how long the need for our version of shelter-in-place will continue,” Morrison told board colleagues last week. “But we do know that every day businesses in town are closing...Folks are losing their jobs and their income.”
On Monday, he reiterated those sentiments, saying there should be “no tax increase.”
“At this point we should have zero,” Morrison said.
Under the plan as proposed, the town's mill rate would see a 0.42% increase, from the current rate of 30.64 mills to 30.77. If that mill rate increase is adopted, a home valued at $300,000 and assessed at $210,000, would see a net property tax increase of $27, Leary said.
The board's budget recommendation, which is lower than the one Town Manager Mark Sciota had presented, still needs to go before the Town Council. The previous budget would have increased the mill rate by about 1.47%, which Leary said had been a “reasonable budget to start with.”