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Mayor's Budget Calls for 2.7% Tax Increase

The Milford Finance Director estimates that taxes will rise approximately $155 for a typical single family home (raised ranch) with a current year market value of $311,070 in the 2013-2014 City budget.


Mayor Blake cites the following key factors as responsible for the City's budget increase:

 

  • There will need to be a significant increase in Milford's pension contribution based on the decine in the value of pension assets experienced during the market downturn between 2007 and 2009.
  • The City's debt service has grown as a series of past capital projects, including several major sewer upgrades, have been completed.
  • The annual health insurance cost for Milford will rise 10% based on projected claims.

The Building Inspection Department will need to work on the $75 million in building projects to help with inspections in the wake up Hurricane Sandy's damage.

"I am proud of our City's exceptional government and believe this budget keeps Milford's financial future on a prudent path," Mayor Blake said.

The Budget still needs to go through the Finance Board recommendations before going to the Board of Aldermen, who have their next monthly meeting on Monday, February 4th.

Tina February 01, 2013 at 05:01 PM
what a crock. Maybe these city employees should get paid less and put that on the budget. Funny how their pay keeps going up for doing what??
MikeS February 01, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Wow, now I see, says the blind man. So after a discussion with the Milford assessor, who patiently provided a lengthy and thorough explanation (thanks Mr. Thomas), I understand why my tax bill is going up despite an apparent drop between our '06 and '11 assessed property values. It has to do with a "phased-in" approach to assessed property values. In '06, at the peak of the market, some properties in Milford had doubled or tripled in relation to the last assessment in 2000. Rather than apply that hit in one shot to Milford tax payers, they city opted to gradually apply the new 2006 assessment rate, 20% each year, until the next assessment in 2011. Then, in 2008, the market crashed, and they froze the phase-in. So, here were are in 2012, and the assessment rate is again calculated as %70 of current market value, instead of what we saw for the past 3 years, which was an artificial manufactured rate of the 2000 assessment + %40 of the difference between 2000 and 2006 (i.e. the phase in). This explains the tax jump despite assessment going down between 2006 and 2011. Connecticut needs to dump the 5 year assessment window and begin doing this annually. There is too much opportunity for leaps in assessment values this way, and for someone like me who just bought the property in 2007, it is an opaque process with considerations on the state of the property before I ever owned it.
Bill February 01, 2013 at 05:25 PM
It seems to me that Blake should be holding the line on taxes if not reducing them. I remember a few years ago when the Dems said that Richetelli had raised taxes way too much over a five year period. If that's the case, we are being overtaxed right now. With our huge grand list and a concerted effort to cut more spending, we should be cutting taxes despite issues mentioned in this article -- or, at the very least, hold the line on taxes.
Susan Merrill February 01, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Are you crazy we pay enough in taxes now. My husband just retired how are we going to pay for this tax increase.
thathouse February 01, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Enough is enough. But thanks to all the people who voted this imbicile into office as our mayor. Really? $75,000,000???? in building projects to help with inspections How about this? Instead of raping the homeowner, why not raise the mil on the businesses? The only reason so many businesses come to Milford is because we have an extremely attractive tax rate for businesses. It's the residents that offset the taxes with increasing mils, year after year. Enough is enough.
arkay February 01, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Inflation was only 1.7% from 2011 to 2012, so this is too much.
Michael Brown February 01, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Don't tease us.
Michael Brown February 01, 2013 at 07:27 PM
There may be property tax breaks for indigent seniors such as you and your husband. Check with the assessor's office.
Michael Brown February 01, 2013 at 07:35 PM
The Richetelli administration averaged about a 4% annual tax increase.
Michael Brown February 01, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Yes. "for doing what??" Let's make Milford an affordable city. Layoff all the school teachers, garbage collectors, sanitation workers, road crews, firefighters, and policemen. Who needs'em?
RONALD M GOLDWYN February 01, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Mike Brown, as the administrations "Defender of the Faith" you are quite in character, but I do recall our Mayor campaigning on lower taxes for the Milford residents. That is fine for a campaign speech, but after winning reality set in and promises go out the window, be it a Democrat or Republican. If in our city there were no foreclosures, empty storefronts or high unemployment, then the Mayor's job would be easy, as he would have a budget surplus and the ability to cut taxes. Such is not the present case, and while I want the Mayor to be aware of his promises, I will not fault him if the task is impossible.
Michael Brown February 01, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Mr. Goldwyn Alas, it is true. Ah, but the Richetelli administration was so thoroughly indefensible. Wasn't it? That said I leave you to your uninformed bashing. But for the record: Banks pay taxes on foreclosed properties and unemployment is a nation wide problem - not just municipal. Also. You are using the words "budget surplus" in a way that legally does not apply to a municipal budget.
Ryan Sartor (Editor) February 01, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Hi JE: That was a typo, I have corrected the wording. There are $75 million worth of building projects, rather than $75 million will be added to that budget.
Gary M February 01, 2013 at 09:20 PM
We am calling out Mayor Ben Blake. We voted for you and you said you would hold the line on taxes. Give us a break, Mr. Mayor! Enough is enough. You have not made good on your your tax promises. Year after year, our taxes go up. We were happy to be rid of Mayor Richetelli's out of control spending. You have brought some good money savings plans to the table and implemented them. So why more new taxes? You have to do better than Jim Richitelli. Our home is not the average home, hence even higher taxes than the news article states. We are sick and tired of the spending and tax increases. I would like to retire in my hometown. You are making it increasingly difficult for us during these hard times
Michael Brown February 01, 2013 at 09:57 PM
"Hold the line on taxes." I have to admit I've never liked that expression. What does it mean? Impose control on tax expenditures? - That's what a 'budget' is all about. Keep taxes constant? - That's kind of hard to achieve. Some people's taxes will go up and some will go down depending on the improvements and/or demolition. That said. The city has been through a lot of crap since Blake made that "hold the line" comment. Remember Irene? Remember Sandy? Take a ride along the shoreline. Some of those structures that used to be part of the grand-list have been torn down. No structure on a lot means a lower tax assessment. Also, public works has been working a lot of overtime on clean-up. FEMA will eventually reimburse the city for about 75% of that cost, but the operative word is 'eventually.' In the mean time we have to pay the bills. A 2.7% increase seems low to me once all this is taken into account.
RONALD M GOLDWYN February 01, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Mr Brown, You are so picky, picky, In your rebuke of Tina, you could have been a bit more open and say that most city employees are represented by unions who negotiate their wages and for the most part wages have gone up as a result of the settlement. At the same time most costs have also gone up, be it gasoline, food or taxes. We would be hard put to find an item that has gone down in cost at this time. Is there anyone in public service who does not want to see things better here in Milford. I know this is the case be they Democrat or Republican administrations
JE February 02, 2013 at 03:24 AM
The way the article should have read is that there will be an anticipated $75 million dollars in buildings projects to homes, etc in Milford that require repair after sotrm Sandy. The Building Dept will require additional temporary staff to manage the inspection of all those projects. The amount added to the budget was NOT $75 million. That was a typo on the reporters part, as he has explained.
R Pate February 02, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Here we go again! Spending is not contained so we raise the taxes to cover the short fall. This a pattern that keeps repeating over and over. As a senior what am I suppose to do? My income is flat. They gave a Social Security increase but then raise the Medicare payment. Result? NET ZERO. I guess the only option is to move or die.
Rocco Frank Milford Independents February 03, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Why did everyone miss this! "There will need to be a significant increase in Milford's pension contribution based on the decine in the value of pension assets experienced during the market downturn between 2007 and 2009." When my pension tanks no one bails me out, why do Milford's taxpayers have to backstop losses caused by mal-investment? Are we copying the bailout model the Federal Government?
arkay February 03, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Holding the line means keeping taxes in check. It doesn't mean no budget increases. That's impossible given inflation. If we see a reduction or no increase after Sandy repairs in 2014, then I will believe that this administration is being fiscally responsible.
Hometownguy February 03, 2013 at 07:42 AM
The budget wouldn't have to go up except that the mayor decided that waterfront people shouldnot fees like the rest of us do when something happens to our houses. I'm sick of those mansion-owners at the beach getting all of the city services and expecting the rest of us to pay for them. And give me three cost saving measures the mayor has actually put in place?.
Hometownguy February 03, 2013 at 07:51 AM
City employees don't make much money except at the very top and they are treated like garbage by their bosses including mr. Blake himself. Look in the budget (on the web) and see how much they are paid. If you are not happy with your service keep treating them like something stuck under your shoe because that always works to make people want to do a good job. Milford has way fewer employees than other cities and these aren't faceless bureucrats, they are the nurses who care for your kids in school, the firefighters who run in buildings that people are running out of, the cops walking into a fight to stop it and the people who pick up your stinking garbage ... tell them to their face that they are doing nothing. Then look at where the real money goes - millions for unneeded sewers (totally screwed up projects btw) and school "renovations" with no-bid contracts.
MCF February 05, 2013 at 07:58 PM
In my opinion our city employees have done and continue to do a great job, hopefully they are fairly compensated as they should be. With that said, a fair business practice is to react to reduced revenue by reducing costs. Sometimes that means layoffs or contributing more to healthcare, sometimes that's looking internally at processes for increasing efficiencies to save money. Only as an absolute last resort should taxes be raised. So, have ALL reasonable cost cutting measures been taken into consideration? It sounds as if the first consideration is to raise taxes. As a self employed individual I have had to cut my personal expenses due to a 14% increase in healthcare as well as other expenses. For those who work for a company they can't affect their income by soliciting their employer for more money, they need to adjust their lifestyle to make ends meet... if they can. It is with the same regard that I feel all municipalities operate accordingly.
JE February 05, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Responding to Manny - I agree with everything you have said. I cannot recite them verbatim, but I have heard Mayor Blake mention several times in the last 14 months since taking office things he has implemented that have resulted in savings. One that comes to mind are the installation of programmable thermostats at Parsons and City Hall that make sure the heat is not on in the middle of the night, interest savings by rebonding, negotiations that have brought savings to health insurance costs. He has an open door policy. Make an appointment to meet with him. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
MCF February 05, 2013 at 08:53 PM
JE, I'm aware of some measures put in place and taken for granted that for the most part this City is well run (I've lived here my whole life - I know it's not saints-ville :-) ) but I do have concern about the cost of the new fire station -I admit I don't understand how much one should cost to build. I wasn't aware that one cost 5m, that does seem a but much! It's all about context. I don't like the thought of no-bid contracts or some of the other assetions made by Rocco Frank either so it has me wondering. I may just make an appointment with Mayor Blake and get a better sense for myself. Thanks, JE.
Rocco Frank Milford Independents February 05, 2013 at 09:06 PM
The firehouse was originally reported as a no bid contract, however there were several bids submitted. The issue is the liberal price tag of 5M, one that is part of the reason for our tax increase.
MCF February 05, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Yes, the GC cost is double or more than average, that is interesting. I work with construction companies in my consulting business - usually they don't have the luxury of making such a margin. If it was put out to bid did they go with the highest bidder?
JE February 05, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Manny the contractor was the low bidder at almost 1 million under the estimate. No question alot has gone wrong with the project, but it was the low bidder, not the high. I never heard anything about it being no bid.
Rocco Frank Milford Independents February 05, 2013 at 11:35 PM
300 Grand for Blue prints... see the NH Register April 8, 2011. Right around that time Blake had all his energy into making the Republicans look bad as he was chasing reciepts for chairs. mmmm makes you wonder how he misessd such a huge mistake. This is what a firehouse should cost and had it been priced right your taxes would be lower this year. http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/rsmeans/models/fire-station2/
MilfordResident February 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM
I hope that after the absolutely atrocious handling of this snowstorm (despite taxes going up and up and up) that no one in this town is stupid enough to vote for this ridiculous Mayor again.

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