The Middletown mayor has proposed a new budget for the town government. Included in the budget is a hike in the sewer rate, but no property tax increase. Town council is expected to decide on the budget during its regular meeting on Monday, July 3.
Middletown’s proposed budget contains an increase in the sewer rate, translating to an additional $2.46 a month for the average resident.
Mayor Kenneth L. Branner Jr. gave an overview of the budget on Thursday, June 29 at a special mayor and council workshop in town hall.
No property tax increase was proposed.
The increase in the sewer rate, if approved by council, would be 41 cents per 1,000 gallons per day. Branner said the hike is necessary because sewer water has become more concentrated and more difficult to treat.
More efficient shower heads and toilets, for example, have caused the sewer water to be more concentrated.
“The wastewater is stronger because there’s less water in it, which makes it harder to treat and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Branner said.
As for the overall proposed budget, total revenue is estimated at $44.3 million and total expenditures are $44.1 million, leaving a projected surplus of $133,486.
Council members heard the mayor’s budget message, but didn’t answer any questions. It was a public meeting, but none of the few people in the audience asked questions. The entire meeting was 15 minutes.
After the meeting, Councilman Robert E. Stout said the low taxes in the town help with the growth in the community. Middletown, he said, is ranked on the low end for property taxes compared to other municipalities.
If the budget passes, the property tax rate will remain at 30 cents per $100 assessed value.
There will be no increase in water fees or trash fees.
Public hearing Monday
A public hearing will be held on the budget Monday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m., in town hall After the hearing, council is expected to vote on the budget. Stout said he expects it to pass council.
In his budget message to council on June 29, Branner said the proposed budget for the next fiscal year has about a half a percent more in expenditures than the current fiscal year.
“Income in 2017-18 from property taxes and transfer taxes are expected to increase versus last year’s budget as we experience an increase in new homes being built as well as new commercial units,” Branner said. “However, these newer homes are being built much more efficiently thus helping control our costs in providing utility services.”
The new capital budget includes expenditures of about $2.1 million.
“These capital expenditures include the purchase of a new Sewer Vac Truck, which is financed using a lease line that allows us to spread the costs over several years,” Branner said.
There will be technology upgrades, totally $180,000 which includes a new phone system in all town buildings.
“Additionally, we will be upgrading some of the IT infrastructure at [Middletown Police Department] for about $50,000 along with investing $200,000 into hardware and software for our body camera program.”
The town has partnered 50/50 with the M.O.T. Little League to purchase lights for a field at Silver Lake Park.
Also in the budget is $900,000 in upgrading and repairing several town streets.
“These upgrades will include improvements for crosswalks, lane striping and storm water management,” Branner said.