Groton Town Council OKs tax rate increase

Groton - The Groton Town Council on Tuesday approved a 2.5 percent increase in the tax rate for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Councilors voted 8-1, with councilor Deborah Peruzzotti voting no. Peruzzotti said she was unhappy that the Representative Town Meeting added money back into the budget after the council cut the proposed budget by 0.9 percent.

The RTM approved a budget of $119,953,958 for the coming fiscal year, a decrease of 0.8 percent from the current year.

"I think it's important that we know how hard the council struggled to reduce taxes as much as we possibly could," Peruzzotti said.

The tax rate will rise by 0.5 mills, from 20.22 mills to 20.72 mills, even though the town will spend less next year, because revenues have declined.

The RTM, which serves as the final funding authority in Groton, restored some cuts, including those to the Groton City Police Department.

Town councilor Karen Morton said she felt the RTM "basically undid everything we did."

But RTM member Patrice Granatosky said the group restored what it felt were "vital services."

"Just as the councilors feel that they did what was appropriate, the majority of the RTM felt that what we did was appropriate," she said. The RTM needed a two-thirds vote to restore funding, she added.

Meanwhile, the city is still seeking mediation to resolve its differences with the town cuts to the highway budget.

The City Council approved a budget May 20 of $16.9 million for the coming fiscal year, including $2.169 million for highway maintenance.

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