Budget Committee recommends increase in spending, taxes

Budget Committee recommends increase in spending, taxes

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Budget Committee presented its 2018-2019 budget recommendations to the Town Council on Monday, submitting a $43.9 million budget representing a 1.4 percent increase in spending over the current fiscal year.

The budget proposes a 1.85 percent increase in overall property taxes, an increase Budget Committee members said was necessary due to the loss of approximately $800,000 in tangible property tax revenue from National Grid over three years following a reclassification of about $35 million of the company’s tangible property. While the exact impact on individual taxes is unclear, Town Administrator Gary Ezovski said he hopes to keep tax rate increases under 3 percent.

“We have to be mindful of the people who pay the bills. We’re in a 2 percent inflation environment,” he told The Breeze.

According to Ezovski, a primary focus of the proposed budget is setting aside funds to enhance the town’s credit rating and financial stability, including $250,000 in fund balance restoration and contingency and another $20,000 to prepare for the town’s next full revaluation. The budget also advocates a “pay as you go” policy, with plans to set aside funds over several years for capital and other projects, including fire and rescue equipment, improvements at the High School athletic fields and restoration of the Slatersville water tank, as an alternative to funding those projects through bonds at a later date.

“My conclusion is that we have less than an adequate fund balance to maintain the kind of credit rating that a community like North Smithfield should have,” said Ezovski. “That’s a tough one, because you put that money aside and you don’t buy anything.”

The budget also includes funding for a traffic study of the intersection of Rte. 146 and Pound Hill Road and $350,000 for road resurfacing, along with $253,000 for the purchase of a snowplow and F-550 truck by the Public Works Department. Under the police budget, the committee approved the hiring of two full-time school resource officers to begin work in January 2019.

“In my view, in order to make sure that our roads stay in an appropriate state of repair, we should be budgeting construction of about two miles of road every year,” said Ezovski, noting that his original budget had included a larger allocation for road paving.

In school funding, the Budget Committee recommended a 2 percent increase, less than the 3.4 percent increase school officials had requested as a result of growing enrollment and greater demand for student services. The committee also recommended the allocation of $35,000 for the replacement of Chromebooks and $270,000 toward school capital projects, including funds for outdoor throwing cages, a field house and the replacement of auditorium lighting.

The public hearing on the budget will take place during the next Town Council meeting on Monday, June 18, with plans to further discuss the budget and vote on any changes on June 25. Council President John Beauregard praised the cooperation of the town administrator and the Budget Committee in putting together the proposal.

“I think as an overall picture, everybody’s very happy and very pleased with it, but there are individual items in there that I think might require some changes,” he told The Breeze.

Comments

We need to realize we are a Tiny Town with a tiny tax base. How high do we want our taxes.I already see homeowners adding in laws to help pay for their taxes.My guess is the average homeowner pays $4000 in house taxes.

It is time that we VOTE all of these TAX increasing PEOPLE OUT !!!!!!!!! I have had it ! MY pockets are EMPTY !!!!! Get RID OF THE SPENDERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well you all voted yes for NS, yes for change and yes for more taxes. This group got exactly what they wanted more Union salary increases on the backs of the taxpayers. It is time for change for less wasteful spending and less taxes.

This is out of control, I moved to NS 2 years ago and my taxes will already be $400 more than when I moved in. Absolutely ridiculous, how soon before my taxes are higher than my mortgage? The news letter put out yesterday shows the TA wants a 2.85% increase not 1.85% as the article states from the budget commission. See link below or on NS website.

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Your-Weekly-Newsletter-is-Here-.html?...

Our Town Administrator should be "raked over the coals" for a 2.8% increase. It's amazing how fast people change when giving a little power,what happened to holding the line on taxes?

The administrator campaigns on controlling spending and taxes and they spends like money is no object. Just remember to vote yes for change in the next election so we can get the town back on tract and away from spenders. Money doesn't grow on a tree and my pocket is full of lint. Gary look into your own pocket for your Union friends.