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New London passes budget with little controversy

New London — In quick order, the City Council on Monday passed its combined $98.6 million budget for 2022-23.

It was the final vote on what turned out to uncontentious budget season. The council unanimously approved a spending plan with $53.45 million in city government spending, a 3.2% increase, and $45.21 million in education funds, a 1.6% increase over the current budget. Because state education funding remains unchanged, the increase in the taxpayer-funded portion of the education budget is up by 3.2 %.

The budget contains modest spending increases for the city’s three largest departments. There is $7.09 million, a 2.1% increase, for Public Works; $12.42 million for the police department, a 1.6% increase; and $10 million for the fire department, a 6.8% increase.

“I’m really please with the work the finance department did and the cooperation of the council and the Board of Ed. I think we really built consensus during the process while the budget was being built. That’s why it was a rather noncontroversial process,” said Mayor Michael Passero.

Because of an increase to the city’s grand list of taxable properties, the city’s tax rate is expected to drop from 37.95 mills to 37.31 and could lead to a decrease in tax payments for some. For instance, a single-family home valued at $110,000 would drop by $68 to $4,126.

While the education budget is $1.1 million less than what was requested from the Board of Education, education officials say some of that could be made up with state grant funds. The school board is expected to meet next month to consider cuts to its overall budget.

Board of Education President Elaine Maynard Adams said children across the country are in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and children in poorer communities have suffered disproportionately.

“We see this every day in New London,” Maynard Adams said. “It is our responsibility as elected officials to respond to this crisis using any and all resources we have. This isn’t just a Board of Education problem, this is a community issue. I’m confident that our city council partners will work with us to find ways to provide the support our children and our families need.”

The city is in the early stages of considering a separate budget for the second half of the $26.2 million in federal funding flowing to the city from the American Rescue Plan Act.

G.smith@theday.com

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