Avon town officials reached the adjusted $28.93 million town 2013-14 budget proposal the Town Council endorsed at its meeting last week – $81.76 million including the school board request – by tightening the capital improvement request and incorporating additional projected non-tax revenue.
If approved in the May referendum without any additional Board of Finance tweaks, that means residents would see a 2.6 percent tax rate increase with a 3.85 percent rise in the combined budget.
"Normally they don't focus on the tax increase," Assistant Town Manager Steve Bartha said last Friday, referring to the Town Council.
That entailed removing $110,000 from a few items in the capital improvement budget. Net spending reductions in that part of the budget recommendation come to $60,000 because the council also reintroduced $50,000 for previous school board project requests.
The additional funding would include $36,000 for two used athletics buses and $14,000 to help pay for new gym lights and weather-sealed windows in keeping with the town's new adopted energy plan, Bartha said.
As for capital improvement spending reductions, Bartha said that $50,000 was removed from the Thompson Road project request, as well as $25,000 from the Old Farms bridge project, $25,000 from the Cider Brook drainage project, and $10,000 for replacing an underground fuel tank at the Department of Public Works for town vehicles.
"CIP dollars are tight," Bartha said.
No projects were cut entirely from Town Manager Brandon Robertson's original capital improvement program proposal, which still includes requests of $50,000 for the Thompson Road project, $100,000 for the Old Farms Road bridge project, $75,000 for Cider Brook drainage and $90,000 for the fuel tank replacement.
The $50,000 increase in non-tax revenue projected for the next fiscal year includes $30,000 for building permits and $20,000 for recording and conveyance revenue.
The capital budget includes $240,000 for Avon school security improvements to incorporate contingency as Robertson recommended to the council before its February budget workshop.
The budget proposal now passes to the Board of Finance for review at its April 8 public hearing and April 10 budget workshop, both at 7 p.m. at the Avon Senior Center. The annual town budget meeting is scheduled for May 6 at 7 p.m. and residents can vote on the final proposed budget at the referendum on May 15 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., both at the senior center.
What do you think is the most important thing that should be included in the budget for the next fiscal year? Would you be comfortable with a 2.6 percent tax rate increase? Tell us in the comments!