Groton City budget plan holds money for economic group, vehicles

Groton - The city's proposed $16.59 million budget for the coming fiscal year would support a newly-formed economic development commission, save for future vehicles like a fire department ladder truck, and create online access to planning, zoning and street documents.

Mayor Marian Galbraith summarized the budget, a $253,675 decrease from the current year, at a public hearing on Monday. Despite a decline in spending, city residents would see a tax rate increase of .227 mills to 4.8 mills, or a tax increase of $22.70 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Galbraith said taxes would rise slightly due to declining state revenue. Two residents spoke briefly about the budget at the hearing, but neither sought changes.

"I'd like to thank you also because you masterminded the final product," said Robert Zuliani, of Cushman Street.

The budget would maintain parks, beaches and city-owned properties, set aside $33,000 toward the future purchase of a ladder truck and contribute $50,000 to buy sanitation trucks in the future.

The spending plan also includes $10,000 to support an economic development commission, recommended by an ad-hoc group that looked at ways to boost investment in Thames Street and the five corners area.

"We recognized that we did not have an entity that was a liaison between the residents and the staff," said Councilor Keith Hedrick, who served as chairman of the ad hoc committee.

Residents and businesses could also gain online access to street files and building and zoning documents through a $38,000 investment in making more electronically-stored files public. The ultimate goal is to allow people to apply for permits online, Galbraith said.

"This would be an enormous convenience for people who are planning to come into the city, build in the city (or) open a business in the city," she said. It would also save on office work, she said.

d.straszheim@theday.com

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