NORWICH – Five City of Norwich residents addressed the Common Council during Tuesday night’s public hearing on the proposed 2008 budget, each indicating that parts of the budget were unacceptable, but at the end of the night, the spending plan was passed by a vote of five to one vote.
The 2008 budget calls for a tax increase of 4.97 percent, which according to City Finance Director William Roberts would raise the average property owner’s taxes by $44 a year. However, many residents found fault with the timing of the budget and the lack of discussion preceding certain items.
Christine Carnrike of Jones Avenue was the first to address the council. Among other things, Carnrike found fault with number originally added to the mayor and council personal services lines that called for a raise of over 50 percent for the council members and a raise of more than 70 percent for the mayor. “I’m appalled that in the State of the City address, released by the mayor just days before the election, there was no mention of a 4.97 percent tax increase, and certainly no mention of a 50 percent raise for the council and a 70 percent raise for the mayor,” Carnrike said.
The Norwich resident also found fault with the fact that the budget was presented just two weeks ago and that the city had no additional meetings scheduled in the event that the budget was voted down. “If this budget is adopted tonight, it’s a disgrace to the taxpayers,” Carnrike said. “If a business ran this way, it would be out of business.”