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Groton — The tax rate in Groton would drop 1.1 percent, from 20.72 mills to 20.48 mills, under the budget the Town Council unanimously adopted Tuesday.
The council voted on a resolution to adopt the budget of $122.83 million for the coming fiscal year, an increase of about 2.4 percent over current spending. Councilors were able to reduce the tax rate despite increased spending because Groton had money in its reserve account.
The Representative Town Meeting takes up the budget at its annual meeting at 7 p.m. on April 30 at the Groton Senior Center.
The council cut in three major areas: $137,000 from the police salary account, $63,000 from public works, and $30,000 from debt service. The council added in two main places: $40,000 in planning to boost economic development and $200,000 in legislative policy to review land use rules, streamline the process and take other steps to attract investors.
In the end, the council's approved budget was about $5,000 less than the budget that Town Manager Mark Oefinger proposed.
The council set aside $3.6 million in the reserve fund to cushion the impact of the tax losses from Pfizer Inc. tearing down its former research headquarters, known as Building 118. The tax losses would total $1.8 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year and in the following fiscal year.
Oefinger had wanted the council to commit $300,000 to increase the reserve fund. But councilors voted instead to use that money to lower the tax rate.