PLAINVILLE - A handful of residents spoke on Town Manager Robert E. Leeâ€™s proposed 2018-19 budget Thursday.
The public hearing was attended by a small group of residents who frequently speak at Town Council meetings. Prior to hearing their comments, Lee, along with Superintendent of Schools Maureen Brummett, reviewed the budget presentation given at last weekâ€™s council meeting.
Speakers included John Kisluk, Lou Ferrangos, Joanne Edman, David Spencer and Gail Blackfort.
â€śI see what weâ€™re up against and realize weâ€™re stuck with this situation with health insurance increases and state aid cuts and I donâ€™t like it,â€ť said Kisluk. â€śAll I can ask is that you find a little more somewhere to chop.â€ť
Ferrangos said that, â€świth all things consideredâ€ť it was a well-prepared budget.
Edman said the council should â€śforget the crumb rubberâ€ť in the courtyard of the Wheeler school renovation project.
â€śI hope you can find a good health care plan - the people should not be responsible for huge overages,â€ť she added.
Spencer encouraged the town to have a â€śprovisionâ€ť in place in case the state doesnâ€™t deliver the full promised amount of state aid again this year.
â€śA bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and right now all theyâ€™re promising is the two birds in the bush,â€ť said Spencer.
Spencer also criticized the Board of Education for a 5.13 percent proposed increase. He said it was an â€śoutrageous amount to demand of taxpayersâ€ť and he â€śdidnâ€™t see significant cuts.â€ť
Andrea Saunders, chair of the Board of Education, said that â€śnot one Board member was happy with a 5.1 percent increase,â€ť she said. â€ś3.7 percent of that was due to health insurance increases that were obligated by the unions.â€ť
Blackfort said she was anti-union and was pessimistic about the stateâ€™s management under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. She also complained about the rising costs of medications. She said she â€śdoesnâ€™t think we can win.â€ť
Lee called for a budget of $60,056,058, an increase of $1,530,867 from this yearâ€™s budget or 2.62 percent. This includes a Board of Education budget of $37,322,912, a town government budget of $17,533,146, $4,400,000 for debt service and $800,000 for capital projects.
The education budget increased by $1,819,916 or 5.13 percent. The town government budget increased by $323,345 or 1.88 percent. The debt service increased by $312,294 or 6.63 percent and capital projects increased by $300,000 or 27.27 percent.
Lee has previously noted that were it not for health insurance rate increases the overall change in the budget would have been an $80,481 increase or 0.15 percent. The budget has increased by an average of 1.51 percent over the past eight years.
If adopted as proposed, the tax rate increase would be 33.84 mills. Thatâ€™s an increase of 0.41 mills or 1.24 percent.
The market value of an average home in Plainville is $175,000. Under the proposed tax rate, the owner of a home with that value will would pay $4,145 in local property taxes.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.