Lyme looking at tax rate increase as budget moves to public hearing

Lyme - The Board of Finance voted Thursday to move the Board of Selectmen's 2014-15 budget forward to a public hearing May 8.

The town's proposed operating budget stands at $9,361,845, or 7.68 percent more than the current budget. The capital budget stands at $1,649,361, or about 61.47 percent less than the current year. This year's capital budget contains a larger amount in capital funding for the ongoing Town Hall and Library improvement project.

Proposed budget increases include an additional $67,500 in town road maintenance to more aggressively seal town roads as well as other maintenance tasks, and about $7,000 in additional funding for the Lymes' Senior Center to move the director to a full-time position. Lyme and Old Lyme share the senior center; Old Lyme's share for the director's salary is expected to be an additional $14,000.

Fifty-thousand dollars in funding for Rogers Lake includes a comprehensive study for a management plan of invasive weeds in the lake. Old Lyme is also contributing funds for that study.

The general government budget has also built in a 2.5 percent increase in salaries for town employees.

In addition, the town will in 2014-15 begin paying debt service on the Town Hall and library project.

The Lyme-Old Lyme school district's 2014-15 budget stands at $31,963,401, or 0.7 percent more than the current budget. Lyme's net share stands at 20.9 percent of the overall spending plan, or $6,556,450. That represents a 1.1 percent increase over the current budget.

Because the school district is a regional one, the Lyme-Old Lyme school budget is voted on separately from the towns' budgets. In Lyme, residents will vote on the 2014-15 school budget between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on May 6 at the Hamburg Fire Station on Route 156. The school budget book is available on the district's website, at www.region18.org.

Lyme's tax rate is projected to increase from 14 mills to 17 mills next year, said First Selectman Ralph Eno. The Board of Finance will set the tax rate following the annual town budget vote on May 15.

k.drelich@theday.com

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