Much Ado About Nothing: Mill Rate Set With Special Meeting Tuesday

After the absence of the Southington Board of Finance chairman led to a delay in the setting of the mill rate, the town approved the rate without issue Tuesday night.

Residents in Southington can expect their tax bills on time after the Board of Finance voted along party lines to approve a mill rate for the community on Tuesday evening.

The board voted 4-2 to approve a rate of 27.48 mills for the 2012-13 fiscal year after just a brief discussion at , approving the same rate which had failed two weeks before in the absence of Chairman John Leary, who was away on a business trip.

“The process, as it is concerned, there are three parts,” Leary said Tuesday. “The first is the setting of the budget. The town council approving it is another and the third is setting the mill rate based on the budget the council has approved and the grand list that has already been set.”

“As far as setting the mill rate, it is a responsibility we are backed into.”

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The change in mill rate represents an increase of slightly more than 0.6 mills, but it will be tough for residents to calculate increases this year due to the recent revaluation. Some may see a slight decrease while others could see increases based on their property values compared to last year, board members said.

For residents with homes valued at $100,000, tax bills should be in the range of $2,750, for homes valued at $200,000 it would be closed to $5,500 and for homes around $300,000, the bill would be in the range of $8,250.

Although there will be no delays in the tax bills this year, the fate of the mill rate was left uncertain on May 16 when for the first time in the town’s history.

Democrats Sandra Feld and Anthony Casale Jr., who both voted against the proposed mill rate again on Tuesday night, protested the budget process and said they could not support a rate developed from “a partisan budget we do not support.”

The that they were not given a voice in the process and felt additional cuts were necessary in a tough economic climate like that facing Southington taxpayers – a point that was argued by Republican Board of Finance members who pointed out that the 2012-13 budget includes less general government spending than during the current fiscal year.

Feld said Tuesday that she stands by her comments.

“I find it difficult when I voted no on the budget to now turn and vote yes on this,” Feld said. “I made my issues clear before and I stand by what I said.”

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