Finance board proposes 1.8% tax increase

How does a 1.8% tax increase sound? That’s what town voters will be asked to approve in May, after the finance board unanimously approved a $144-million budget proposal for 2018-19 Monday night.

“We wanted to keep taxes under 2%,” said Board of Finance chairman Dave Ulmer.

On a series of unanimous votes, the finance board found its way to the 1.8% tax increase and a $144,360,000 town and school budget by trimming the school request to 2.55% increase, approving the town departments and road work budget at the 2.49% increase sought by the selectmen, and proposing to draw $1.6 million from the town’s $14.5-million surplus fund balance, and using it as non-tax revenue.

“One point for the record,” said finance board member Dick Moccia. “We did not cut the Board of Education budget — their request was cut, not their budget.”

The school budget proposed by the finance board next year isn’t $96,555,000, or the 4.23% increase the school board had sought, but it’s roughly a $2,366,000 increase over the current year’s budget of $92,633,000.