WALLINGFORD — Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. on Monday vetoed a budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year that would have kept the tax rate flat.
The Town Council reduced the budget last week by $1.28 million to avoid a tax rate increase by cutting spending and by utilizing $828,375 from the town Electric Division's payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT), which would be offset by reserves in the Capital and Nonrecurring Fund account.
“A mission to keep taxes as low as feasible, and even attain a ‘no tax’ increase, is appropriate,” Dickinson said in a statement. “Removal of expenditures in the budget is necessary in order to achieve that purpose. However, removing over $800,000 of funds regularly dedicated to the capital reserve fund, a stand-alone fund used for current and future capital needs, breaches a duty to plan budgets on a multiyear horizon.”
The council approved a series of amendments to Dickinson’s proposed budget, most of which passed by a vote of 7 to 2 but some passed more overwhelmingly.
Chairman Vincent Cervoni and Vice Chairman Tom Laffin voted against amending Dickinson’s budget.
“Reducing the revenue that annually funds the Capital and Non Recurring fund will negatively affect our ability to plan for and implement capital improvements,” Dickinson said. “In addition, this means that Wallingford Electric Division money is being used to pay for operating costs of Town government.
Dickinson recommended a budget of $174,219,836 in April, an increase of 1.06 percent.
The current rate of 29.19 mills would move to 29.5, or roughly one-third of a mill, for a tax increase of $57 for a residential property assessed at $183,000, the average home assessment in town.
One mill equals $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed home value.
The Town Council can override a mayoral veto with seven votes. The next scheduled regular meeting of the council is June 23.