(Host) Committee Members of Rutland City’s Board of Aldermen begin deliberating the city budget tomorrow.
Mayor John Cassarino proposed a $23 million budget for Rutland – an 18% jump from last year.
VPR’s Nina Keck has more.
(Keck) Sharon Davis Chairs the Finance Committee on Rutland’s Board of Aldermen.
(Davis) “I think there’s a lot of concern out there because they also just received their reappraisal notice.”
(Keck) Rutland city conducted its first city wide appraisal since 1988 and the grand list jumped 57 percent.
(Davis) “Folks are tying that amount to the existing tax rate. So there’s some misinformation out there because the tax rate will go down. Should go down for municipal and should go down for school. And then there’s the budget with an 18% increase. So I think there’s some anxiety there because there’s not much info on what the tax rate will be.”
(Allaire) “The perfect storm of budgets unfortunately – that’s what it appears to be at first blush.”
(Keck) That’s David Allaire president of the Rutland City Board of Aldermen. He says a significant part of the 18% increase in the city budget appears to cover rising fuel and health care costs, as well as workers compensation and salary increases – costs the city has no control over.
(Allaire) “Course there’s also the issue of trying to speak to the deficit in the water and sewer fund. We had to borrow some money – we have a five year plan to pay it back – that deficit and some of those funds look like they’ll come out of the general fund.”
(Keck) But he says three new positions were added in the recreation department and treasurer’s office. Those will need to be carefully scrutinized, Allaire says, as will all other aspects of the budget.
(Allaire) “We’ve only had it for 48 hours so I’m going to reserve judgment on the whole thing. The Mayor’s track record is to be very careful on spending, and I have no reason to doubt it this year.”
(Keck) He says board members have their work cut out of them as the budget needs to be approved by the end of the month and a municipal tax rate set by July 20th.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.