Community activists are organizing city residents to turn out and make their views known at today’s hearing on Republican Mayor Erin Stewart’s proposed budget.
Stewart’s proposal has been criticized for increasing property taxes despite her claim of “no tax increase”, as well as for freezing the city’s annual education allocation and continuing to rely on increased city debt to balance the annual budget.
A flyer has been circulating online encouraging people to attend the hearing, asking, “Who’s looking out for your money?”
While Stewart has characterized her budget as having, “no tax increase,” because it would keep the property tax mill rate at 50.50, that same rate would result in an increase in overall taxes because the amount of property valuations used to calculate property taxes went up due to the recent once-every-five-years property tax revaluation.
In January, Stewart announced that the property tax revaluation had resulted in an overall 6.27% increase in the taxable valuation of property in the city. Keeping the overall amount taxes the same would have meant lowering the amount of the city’s mill rate enough to keep that 6.27% from resulting in higher taxes.
Ald. Carlo Carlozzi, Jr. (D-5), the City Council Majority Leader, recently said, about Stewart’s budget, “the majority of people – they’re taxes are going up. It is a tax increase.”
Meanwhile, Stewart’s budget contains no increase in city funding for New Britain schools, the New Britain Public Library or the New Britain Youth Museum.
The May 1st hearing is to allow the City Council to hear people’s opinions on the city budget before it makes its decisions. The hearing will be 7:00pm in the Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 27 West Main Street. Anyone wishing to speak may sign up at the hearing.