Happy Friday North Stonington,
We wanted to provide an update as to the budget process and how things are proceeding. As a town we have a responsibility to collect taxes to fund the needs of the community based on the budget. Tax bills are mailed out in June and are due July 1st. In order to produce the bills, stuff the envelopes, etc. the Town has to set a “mill rate”. The mill rate is what determines the rate of tax that is levied.
As you know, the proposed budget vote failed last month. Your elected leaders have weighed the different options available to us given the current situation. A couple of years ago we did send tax bills out with a later due date but that put the Town in a position of tight cash flows and was not advisable in hindsight. The other option is to levy tax at the current mill rate until the budget passes but since the current mill rate is higher (29.5) than the proposed (28.6) mill rate being discussed this would result in people being overtaxed.
The Board of Finance on Wednesday recommended the budget to the Board of Selectmen. It is the intention of the Board of Selectmen to call a Town Meeting to be held Tuesday June 15th and a budget referendum vote to take place on June 28th. These dates are tentative and have not been officially voted on as of yet. With some people planning vacations and getaways, we wanted to allow ample time for people to get their absentee ballots to assure for a higher voter turnout than last time. With the Governors Executive Orders in place for June anyone can still vote absentee for any reason through the end of this month. We are leaving a bit of time between town meeting and referendum to allow for people to get absentee ballots should they need them. You can simply contact the Town Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain an absentee ballot after the Town Meeting has been held.
We want to be clear about the process. Though the Board of Selectmen is likely to set a mill rate on Tuesday night based on the Board of Finance’s recommendation, this does not supersede the vote of the people. In other words, if we were to send this budget to vote and it were to fail, changes would likely then be made and if the new mill rate needed to be different than what had been sent in the tax bills, the town may then either have to issue refunds if it were lower, or supplemental tax bills if it were higher.
We wanted to be sure we were communicating the process so everyone remains informed and assured that your vote in the upcoming meeting and referendum is crucially important. The fact that the mill rate is being set prior to the vote is only to be sure we are keeping your government seamlessly operating by getting tax bills sent out on time. We are doing our best to manage the Town’s finances while balancing the statutory requirements of the Town.
We hope this explanation is helpful. The Boards of Education, Selectmen & Finance are all asking for your support on this budget. It has been made clear that another failed budget is likely to result in staffing cuts which will affect services to the town. Staffing has been maintained with the proposed budgets. Please attend the upcoming Town Meeting for a detailed presentation on what is included in these proposed budgets.
In other news…
You will notice beginning next week on June 14th Route 49 where the bridge over Wyassup Brook is will be closed. There will be a rerouting that will take place over the summer while this bridge is replaced. It is scheduled to reopen August 8th. Please plan accordingly.
June is dog licensing month! All dogs over 6 months of age must be licensed during the month of June. The fee for unaltered dogs is $19.00 or for neutered/spayed dogs is $8.00. For new dogs, a current rabies vaccination certificate and, if applicable, proof of neutering/spaying must be provided before the dog can be licensed. A Rabies Clinic will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at the New Town Hall, 40 Main Street, North Stonington from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM for $15.00 CASH ONLY. All dogs must be on a leash and all cats must be in a carrier. Please bring a previous rabies vaccination certificate to receive a 3-year vaccine. The Town Clerk’s Office will be open during the Rabies Clinic to license North Stonington dogs. Please call the Town Clerk’s Office at (860) 535-2877 Ext. 121 or email email@example.com if there are any questions.
Monday evening a meeting will take place to discuss future use of the Rescue plan funding the Town is receiving from the Federal Government. There are limited uses for these funds. This is your opportunity to share your thoughts. All Board and Commission members are invited and the meeting will take place on zoom. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89758037785 or by phone 1 646 558 8656 Meeting ID: 897 5803 7785
Finally, if you have someone you know that hasn’t had a chance to get vaccinated yet, a great opportunity exists tomorrow! The Wheeler Library has coordinated a mobile vaccination clinic that will feature the Pfizer vaccine. For an added incentive anyone who receives a vaccine will get $5.00 coupon to be used at area restaurants on Saturday only. Thanks to Wheeler Library for helping us work to get our community vaccinated.