Tomorrow--Thursday, May 31--Killingworth will hold a referendum on the 2012-13 town budget. I urge everyone to come out to vote in favor of the budget, which is 4.5 percent lower than last year’s budget. With this budget, almost everyone in town will see a decrease in their property taxes.
Each year, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance spend many hours reviewing the needs of the town in the coming year and setting a budget to meet those needs. Once the town has approved the budget, and the RSD 17 budget has been approved by referendum, the Board of Finance sets the mill rate at the necessary level to meet those needs. Because the value of the grand list changes each year, the mill rate can change even if the budget remains exactly the same.
This year, the grand list reflects the first revaluation in five years. We all know that housing prices nationwide have fallen sharply since 2006, and Killingworth is no exception. Overall, our grand list fell by about 12 percent. To bring in the same amount of taxes, the mill rate would have to rise.
In fact, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance have presented a budget that is lower than last year’s. The mill rate will be higher because of the large drop in the grand list, but it will still be almost 3 mills below the mill rate in effect in 2005.
Ensuring public safety is the most important function of our town, and so it makes sense that, in percentage terms, the largest increases in this year’s budget are for public safety—the cost of having a Resident State Trooper and the cost of emergency dispatch services. We have reduced staffing, limited pay increases, and lowered our “savings deposits” by spending down our capital reserves—steps we believe that we can responsibly take until the recovery is more robust. This budget keeps our taxes down and our town strong.
Please come out and vote for the budget this Thursday. Polls are at KES and are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you cannot get to the polls on Thursday, you may vote absentee at Town Hall today from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.