Manchester approved town budget to result in 4.6-percent increase on mill rate

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Apr. 12, 2013

Manchester residents will see taxes raised for the 2014-15 fiscal year, as a result of the $170,581,048 general fund budget, which the Board of Directors adopted on Tuesday, April 9. With a 4.6-percent increase of a mill rate, a median home can expect to pay $172 in additional taxes.

Manchester Mayor Leo Diana explained that the determinations made by most board members were done in the face of increasing costs to the town, particularly the rising cost of health insurance, pensions and fuel. This coincides with less discretionary financial support coming from the state level. All the while, the board wrestled with need to provide the Board of Education with an amount as close as possible to its recommended budget.

The adopted budget reflects an increase of $1,192,144 over the $169,388,904 budget originally recommended by General Manager Scott Shanley.

“We increased the Board of Education [budget] by $1 million to ensure the funding for our full curriculum of school programs such as the Gifted and Talented programs and the music program that Manchester is known for,” said Diana. Both items were passionately advocated for by residents at a public hearing on March 14.

Additionally, the BOE increase will be used to retain Mary Carderelli as the athletic trainer at Manchester High School. The BOD also assumed the responsibility for removing oil tanks at Martin School and MHS.

$55,000 was restored to the General Fund for the instructors of the handicapped pool, which is adjacent to the main pool at Manchester High School. This, too, was strongly supported by residents at the public hearing.

Reacting to recent weather-related emergencies, the board restored a highways maintainer position for $50,250. Also, funding for a youth coordinator in the human services budget was restored for $37,500.

Additionally, the cost of the Transitional Living Center shared by the board was increased to $90,000.

Offsetting these increases, Diana noted, is the discontinuation of funding to the Crossroads Program, which was operated by New Hope Manor that closed its doors this year. This results in a savings of $40,606.

Diana firmly stood behind the increased budget. “This is a measured solution to a complicated issue for our society,” he said.

The budget was passed 6-2 along party lines, with Democrats John Topping, Steve Gates, Rudy Kissmann, Lisa O'Neill, Jay Moran and Diana voting for it, and Republicans Cheri Pelletier and Mark Tweedie voting against (Susan Holmes was absent).

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