Monday, May 15, 2006

Little Compton's Financial Budget Meeting May 23

The Little Compton Taxpayers' Assoc. has an informative blog if you're interested in that area. It also carries a local calendar for their community hall & a newsletter. L.C. has a financial town meeting on May 23. This year the proposed budget is a 5.2% increase. Last year this meeting went on for 3 days - quite lively! Much of it seemed to center on the school budget and it seems that some citizens left quite angry. That proposed budget called for a 10.5% increase!
62% of their budget is driven by salaries & benefits. I'll bet most of the district is in a similar situation. I agree that a 5.2% tax increase is high. The group wants a lower statewide cap and a vote needed to exceed the cap (now legislature approval suffices). They should also be asking for a different method for assessing property taxes which I have described before. This would also results in a net savings with reduced costs for professional appraisers.

I like the idea of a lower cap, but only if the towns in the districts will be receiving more funding in order to manage their budgets. Or the State could assume some of the responsibilities that the district now has. Passing a cap without adequately funding the district will put a stranglehold on the councils & school committees who find much of their budgets fixed.

When the State passed the cap of 5.5% it was with the promise that the State was also going to fund school budgets by 60%. Never happened! The State now actually funds schools for a lower percentage than it did then. When the Guv was here 2 yrs. ago he also touted reduced local spending. But had no idea how to do it! Gee, dad, thanks!

Little Compton also has a cesspool problem which is contributing to the Bay pollution which leads to beach closings in this district. Our local Senator doesn't seem to have enough clout to ever get a funding bill regarding this passed, even though she considers it a prime pollution causer and a key piece of legislation in cleaning up the Bay.

BTW, there is a petition going around Middletown to also have financial meetings. This would mean a change in the Town Charter. We voted on charter changes ?3-4 yrs. ago.

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