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Old Lyme Board of Finance OKs proposed 2.96 percent budget increase

By Kimberly Drelich

Publication: The Day

Published March 30. 2013 4:00AM

Old Lyme - The Board of Finance has given preliminary approval to a general government budget of $7,865,552 for the upcoming fiscal year, a 2.96 percent increase when compared to the current year's spending plan.

The proposed capital budget would increase by 0.41 percent, to $673,176, according to a preliminary budget summary.

The town's share of the education budget, which the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education approved last month at $31,741,789 for the regional school district, is projected to be $24,395,961. However, that number is based on March 1 enrollment figures and may change with the new April 1 data that determines the final amount, according to the board.

Old Lyme's overall budget, including the general government spending plan and the town's share of the school budget, would be $32,934,689 as proposed, about 1 percent more than this year.

Town revenue is expected to increase by 4.08 percent, totalling $2,479,439 next year, partially due to the anticipated increase in state funding in the governor's proposed budget, Chairman Andrew Russell said after Tuesday's board meeting.

Capital projects include setting aside $130,000 per year over several years to purchase two tanker trucks for the fire department.

Among the town departments that would see funding increases next year are information technology, social service and assessment appeals. Information technology funding would increase by $24,080 - 43.8 percent - to, among other things, convert a part-time employee to full-time. The employee currently splits time between information technology and the social service department, Russell said in an email.

Adding extra hours to a part-time position under social services to "better service the needs of the community," Russell said, would increase that department's budget by $5,726 - 51.5 percent.

The assessment appeals department budget also would increase - from $465 to $1,045 - to pay a clerk to record the minutes of meetings, he said.

The town budget also includes an additional $17,416 - a 39.9 percent increase - for the emergency services retirement benefit. That proposal stems from a committee formed this year to recommend improvements to an incentive plan for emergency services personnel.

The budget also includes decreases. Funding is no longer needed for the landfill closure project. The town spent $100,000 this year on closing the landfill, according to budget documents.

Preliminary calculations estimate the tax rate at 19.35 mills - a 0.47 percent increase. The finance board will not set the rate until residents approve the budget at a town meeting in May.

The regional school district will hold a school budget hearing at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium. The school board will present the proposed budget in detail to residents at a meeting at 7:30 p.m. on April 22 at Town Hall.

k.drelich@theday.com

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