Connecticut’s 169 municipalities have gotten little increased financial help from the state in the last five years and remain overly dependent on state aid, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says.
CCM, the main lobbying group for local communities, released a bulletin Monday to candidates for the state’s General Assembly urging them to make education funding a priority in the coming year, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
Berlin's Residential Taxes are: $1,569,598,972, while Commercial/Industrial taxes are: $424,708,500 for a Total Real Property Grand List of $1,994,307,472.
This shows that 21.3 percent of the grand list value relates to commercial/industrial property and 78.7 percent related to residential.
In Berlin, the town has a tax rate of 25.15 barely up from 24.5 mills. But unlike other towns, Berlin was frugal and cautious in budgeting for state funds.
School-related state funding: Total budget: $7,125,031: Total actual: $7,079,650. A shortfall of $45,381.
Non-school related state funding: Total budget: $786,359: Total actual: $1,094,085. A surplus of $307,726
"The large positive variance is entirely due to one specific grant called Manufacturers Machinery and Equipment (MME)," Berlin Finance Director James Wren said. "In fiscal year 2011, the state substantially reduced this grant. During the fiscal year 2012 budget process, while the Governor’s budget was also going on, there was a lot of uncertainty about the fate of that grant. The Town budgeted only $435,000 for that grant based on what was known at the time and to avoid over budgeting revenue.
"However, the when the state budget was finalized, the state created a Municipal Revenue Sharing grant (basically the Town’s share of some of the new state taxes) as a replacement for the MME grant. In addition, the state still provided some funds for the original MME grant. As a result, this actually came in at $793,163 which was almost $360K more than budgeted."
State aid for towns overall stands at about $3 billion per year, while Connecticut’s 169 towns collectively raise about $9 billion annually from local property taxes, James Finley, CCM’s executive director, told the Mirror. State aid to towns has remained relatively flat over the last five years. When you factor in the rate of inflation, that means towns have actually lost financial ground during that five-year period, Finley added.
The state aid figures represent an over-dependence by towns on local property taxes, something the General Assembly should address by closing shortfalls in education funding to towns, Finley said.
"The key to property tax relief is education finance reform," Finley told the Mirror. "The overdependence on the property tax is unsustainable, and hometown Connecticut is in desperate need of revenue assistance."