Hartford's Tax Rate: New Projections Allow Another Decrease
By Jenna Carlesso
July 07, 2011
Revised revenue projections have allowed the city to lower its tax rate, Mayor Pedro Segarra said Wednesday.
The reduction is equal to half a mill as the rate drops from 72.29 mills to 71.79 mills. A mill equals $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
The city had adopted a $545.9 million budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year that had already lowered the tax rate by half a mill. The new adjustment makes the total decrease 1 mill.
Segarra said the city was able to lower its tax levy by using part of an additional $3 million the city is expected to receive under the new state budget.
Because some people have already paid their July tax installment, Tax Collector Marc Nelson said his office will probably not send out revised bills. Instead, he said, officials are considering crediting residents and businesses on their January 2012 tax bills.
Despite the reduction in the tax rate, most residents could still see their tax bills go up - as much as 5 percent in some cases - because of a state-mandated property revaluation that would increase the assessed value of residential properties.
The mayor said another $1.25 million of the $3 million revenue adjustment will be used to pay for three more city inspectors, a lawyer and two interns to address blighted buildings, and to hire at least eight more employees for the public works department.
Segarra said he was guided by residents' concerns over high taxes and a shortage of workers in the public works department.
"I believe the best use of the money ... is to provide relief to taxpayers," he said.
The city council must approve the tax-rate reduction and the $1.25 million appropriation for the new positions.
The mayor also announced Wednesday that he has identified a $2.3 million surplus from the 2010-11 fiscal year, and said he would return that money to the city's general fund.
Segarra said he has asked the city's chief operating officer to look into the possibility of providing a cost of living adjustment to all employees who are not members of a bargaining unit. He said the adjustment would affect no more than 75 people and would cost less than $150,000.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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