Nearly flat budget to go to Old Lyme town meeting next month

Old Lyme — About 15 residents and local officials attended a public hearing Monday in which the Board of Finance chairman presented a nearly flat budget for 2018-19.

With general government and capital spending, the town’s proposed budget is $9,957,916, or about 1.4 percent more than the current year's budget.

But with the town seeing a decrease in its share of the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education budget, the town's overall proposed 2018-19 budget is slightly less than last year and stands at $36,301,175, down from $36,355,031 in 2017-18.

Though Lyme-Old Lyme's Board of Education's budget is set to increase overall next year, money will be returned to the town as a billing credit since the district's audit for the year ending June 30, 2017, showed the district did not spend all the money that was budgeted, Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell said.

Old Lyme's tax rate is projected to increase from 21.75 mills to 21.91 mills next year, but the Board of Finance will vote to set the tax rate after the town budget vote on May 21.

The Board of Finance is using $300,000 from the town's surplus for next year's budget to soften the impact of the budget on taxpayers and finalized the budget Monday after the public hearing.

A resident with a home assessed at $243,000 who pays $5,285 in taxes per year under the current tax rate would pay $5,324 next year, according to Monday's presentation.

A resident with a home assessed at $378,100 who currently pays $8,224 per year would pay $8,284 next year.

A homeowner with a residence assessed at $878,000 who currently pays $19,097 would pay $19,237 next year.

The town is expecting a $109,026 decrease, or 22.5 percent less, in state aid, according to the presentation. The town is anticipating no Education Cost Sharing grant for next year.

The town's liability and health insurance is projected to increase next year, Russell said.

The budget includes funding for a mosquito eradication program; a study to look at improving Halls Road and the possibility of using tax incentives; a part-time employee to help with activities at the Lymes' Senior Center; and road maintenance, according to the presentation.

A project to convert the lighting at Town Hall into LEDs and better insulate the building to save on energy bills; assistance with a lift at the Old Lyme Historical Society's headquarters to improve accessibility; repairs to the senior center porch; and partial payment for a dump truck with a plow are among the other initiatives funded in next year's budget, according to the presentation.

The budget also includes $15,000 for a study of repairs to Lower Mill Pond Dam and $300,000 toward the replacement of the Mile Creek Road Bridge.

k.drelich@theday.com

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