BRISTOL -- Despite reductions in funding from the new state budget, the city is in a ‚Äúvery good position‚ÄĚ because of strong tax revenues and funds previously set aside by the Board of Finance, according to the city comptroller, Diane Waldron.
The topic was discussed at the Joint Board meeting of the City Council and Board of Finance Tuesday night. Waldron said that when comparing the state and city‚Äôs 2018-19 fiscal year budgets "roughly $2.4 million will need to be made up next [fiscal] year."
The funds that will need to be made up are from reduction of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, or PILOT, the municipal revenue sharing grant and the motor vehicle property tax grant - all of which are not accounted for in the state budget, Waldon explained.
"The motor vehicle property tax, I'm sure you've heard, they raised the cap on that grant to 39 mills,‚ÄĚ Waldron said to the Joint Board. ‚ÄúThe city sent the tax bills out at 32 mills, so we capped it because that's what the legislation was at that time."
"Unless the mill rate goes above 39, and I think it [the cap] goes to 45 the following year, we will not get any money for the motor vehicle grant,‚ÄĚ she continued.
Some of the funding from the municipal revenue sharing grant that is not accounted for in the state budget, Waldron said, will be replaced by the state‚Äôs new municipal stabilization grant.
‚ÄúThey did create a new grant called the municipal stabilization grant and that's about $430,000 that we will be receiving next year,‚ÄĚ Waldron said. ‚ÄúWhen looking at 2018 it isn't believed that the city will be losing any additional grant money.‚ÄĚ
However, a precautionary measure taken by the city‚Äôs finance board will make it easier to make up the $2.4 million.
‚ÄúThe Board of Finance did allocate - from the June 30, 2017 fund balance - $2 million of surplus towards any reductions that might happen with the state budget,‚ÄĚ Waldron said. "Tax revenues are coming in very strong so I don't think there is going to be any issues with revenues for this year. I know last year they ended very strong as well so we are on a good trend with regard to state to tax revenues.‚ÄĚ
"So I think right now the city is in a very good position that that money was set aside. When you look at the net, it's approximately $570,000 that the city will have to absorb as we go through the fiscal year, which if revenues come in as they have and the surplus is as it has been over the last few years, then we will be equally covered through the end of the fiscal year," she added.
The general assembly is meeting to readdress certain grants and programs, Waldon added.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-973-5088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Lorenzo Burgio on Twitter @burgioBP.