Milford approves tax decrease third year in a row; Orange tax rate also to come down

Milford Mayor Ben Blake

Milford Mayor Ben Blake

The Board of Alderman has approved an approximately $210 million budget for fiscal year 2018-19 that reflects a tax decrease — the third in three years.

“We still had the same good service residents have come to expect,” Milford Mayor Ben Blake said. “It’s a responsible, prudent budget that puts us on solid footing.”

The spending plan represents a slight decrease in the mill rate, from 27.79 to 27.74. Blake said he doesn’t know of any other municipality in Connecticut that has had a tax decrease three years in a row.

Blake said the aldermen added $80,000 above what school administrators and the Board of Finance requested, deciding that some capital improvement projects thought to not be the highest priority should be taken care of sooner.

The Board of Education operating budget is about $93.2 million, but many items related to education are paid out of the city budget.

He said the budget process was made smoother this year by knowing what the state’s revenue contribution would be, as the state budget — unlike last year — was adopted before the city budget.

“It gaves us more clarity in what we were expecting in revenue,” Blake said.

The mill rate in neighboring Orange will also decrease next fiscal year, to 32 mills from the current 33.38 mills.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli said at a recent town meeting that under the tax rate change, 58 percent of homeowners will experience a tax cut or taxes that stay the same. He said it comes at a time when some communities are being forced to increase the tax rate to cover expenses.

Voters in Orange Wednesday, May 23, easily approved the proposed $46 million annual town budget for 2018-19.