Council works to reduce tax rate increase

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Shelburne’s council continued discussions on the city’s operating budget for 2022.

On Monday (December 20), Shelburne City Council held a special meeting to continue budget discussions to lower the suggested tax rate.

A budget proposal presented to council earlier in December consisted of an increase in tax levies of no more than 13%, resulting in an increase in the tax rate of 8%, including an increase in tax levies of around 1.12% ($ 100,000) for arts and culture, a levy of 5.09 increase related to the endowment and use of $ 200,000 from the city’s fiscal stabilization reserve.

City staff have previously noted that the proposed budget, while “unrealistic” in terms of the suggested increases, is critical in showing the financial pressures the City faces as we approach 2022.

Throughout the budget process, Council has indicated its intention to reduce the suggested increase in the tax rate from 8% to 5% ($ 246,800).

After receiving a detailed breakdown of the 2022 budget proposal from CFO Carey Holmes, the board began the process of prioritizing items at its December 13 meeting and completed the list of cuts on Monday.

Budget changes included:

– Reduction in counseling and education conferences ($ 6,000)

– Virtual meetings ($ 8,500)

– Postponement of the human resources position ($ 63,345 – 10 months)

– IT contractual services ($ 17,537)

– New administrative floor ($ 16,000)

– DEI reduction committee ($ 5,000)

– Arts and culture reduction ($ 85,000)

– Skills and Trades Center ($ 9,000)

– EDC conferences ($ 2,500)

Holmes said the combined budget changes totaled $ 212,882, leaving additional cuts of $ 33,938 needed to meet the 5% tax rate target.

The Town of Shelburne in the final 2021 budget and the 2022 draft budget used a fiscal stabilization reserve, put in place to help offset financially difficult years, to reduce the increase in the tax rate due to the pandemic.

An update of the amount borrowed from fiscal stabilization was reduced from $ 200,000 to just over $ 143,350 at the December 13 meeting. The Council suggested increasing the amount of the fiscal stabilization loan to cover the remaining amount required.

“Personally, I would not be opposed to my drawing on the fiscal stabilization reserve for this amount, especially since what we take from this reserve on the basis of this draft budget is lower than what you had originally planned that we might need when you present the framework, ”said Mayor Wade Mills. “If we pull that $ 34,000, we’re still below what you originally thought we would be.”

Staff have already warned the board against becoming dependent on the fiscal stabilization reserve. Despite this, Holmes noted that even though the amount is budgeted for use, that doesn’t necessarily mean that at the end of the year the city will have to use it.

A motion was passed by council to have staff come back with a final draft with the changes, including the additional levy of $ 177,288 from the tax stabilization reserve, resulting in a 5% tax rate increase.

Shelburne’s board is expected to have a public presentation of the final operating budget proposal on January 10, with a budget adoption slated for January 24.

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