Common Council approves 2011 budget

NORWICH – The Common Council on Tuesday night approved the proposed 2011 budget, which totals $11,046,448 – down $873,227 from the 2010 budget.

Despite a general fund decrease of $392,122 – from $7,800,948 in 2010 to $7,408,826 in 2011 – city taxpayers will still see a property tax rate increase of 2.68 percent, approximately $26 per year on a home assessed at $55,000.

Combined annual costs of property taxes and water system costs will increase from $1,578.35 to $1,628.27, a cost increase of $49.92, or 3.16 percent.

City Clerk and Director of Finances William Roberts said the primary reason for the tax increase is the escalating cost of state employee benefits. The city is in no way unique from other local municipalities in this sense, he added.

“Our goal is to avoid reducing services and maintain them at the highest level we can,” said Roberts. “We’ve managed to do that and property tax increases have steadily decreased going back each of the last seven years. Fortunately, over that time period we’ve been able to build up the city’s capital reserves and secure substantial grant funds to update our operational needs.”

While the amendment for certain water and sewer use rates; establishment of water rates for the Town of Norwich; authorization of the non-unit compensation schedule and adoption of the Water Fund Budget, Wastewater Fund Budget, Special Grants Fund and Debt Service Fund Budgets all passed unanimously, Sixth Ward Alderman Robert Jeffrey cast the sole dissenting vote on the proposed General Fund Budget.

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