Lyme town budget to go to hearing on Thursday
Lyme — The town's proposed 2018-19 budget of $11,722,962 will go to public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall.
First Selectman Steven Mattson said the proposed budget represents a continuation of previous years with no major new projects. Overall, operating expenses are up about 1.8 percent, which is in line with past years' budgets, he said.
"It's pretty much business as usual," he said.
In next year's budget, under capital, the town is re-budgeting for a land purchase — the 250-acre Johnson property — that already was approved in the current year's budget, but will not be completed this year, Mattson said. The town received a larger than expected grant from the state for the purchase, and the 2018-19 budget will reflect the correct income and expense.
With both capital and operating expenses, the total proposed 2018-19 budget appears to increase by about 4.7 percent over the current year's budget, but the spending plan actually reflects a roughly 5 percent decrease in expenses without the re-budgeted land purchase.
While large projects such as the town campus center and a firetruck were components of previous budgets, there are no significant purchases in next year's budget, he said. With the major projects behind the town, he said the focus next year will be on preventive maintenance of buildings.
Lyme's share of the Lyme-Old Lyme education budget represents $6,748,500 of the town's budget, a small decrease from Lyme's share in the current fiscal year.
Overall, the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education budget stands at $34,298,528, or 1.97 percent more than the current budget. Superintendent of Schools Ian Neviaser has said the district isn't proposing new programs, and an increase in health insurance costs is the major factor driving up the budget.
But education costs to both Lyme and Old Lyme are decreasing for next year, as the towns are both receiving billing credits from the school district's unspent money from the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.
Lyme residents can vote on the Lyme-Old Lyme education budget during the referendum from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 8 at Lyme Town Hall.
A vote on Lyme's town budget is scheduled for May 17. The Board of Finance is slated to set the tax rate after the budget vote.