Taxing considerations was printed today in the Record Journal – in it Mike Brodinsky outlined many points regarding our budgeting processes. It is a comprehensive read and I recommend it to everyone.
Our current budget (from this past May) already included $4.3 million dollars from the rainy day fund; when the end of year audit was completed, the budget balance for the fiscal year 2013 was $7,388,000 to the positive. This is because the town took in $3,587,000 more than planned (as I stated during the budget cycle we are TOO conservative with our income projection numbers) and we spent $3,801,000 less than planned (and that is simply credit where credit is due - it doesn't make sense to spend more than you need to).
In May of 2013 I pressed that “TOO conservative with our income projection numbers” issue - MY TAKE - Wallingford budget passes with additional cuts
We could have fully funded EVERYTHING and STILL had money left over because we sandbag our revenue numbers to make an excessive cushion. We over estimate expenses as shown above (and agreeably, that is a harder target to hit).
Yes - it is better than running into the red but when these monies are only shuffled around it is bad for the taxpayer.
That $4.3 million dollars moved into this current budget will be slid back into the general fund and not spent and then it will be infused into the new budget and likely not spent as well.
The current budget was adopted at $147.4 million dollars – an increase of 4.3 percent on the full budget this upcoming May totals a new budget of $153.4 million; an increase of $6,000,000. The total tax bill for the town CAN go up by that amount and there SHOULD be no tax increases for that to the taxpayers because we are sitting on $7,388,000 to the positive from this year (with about $900,000 or so being held back for future revaluations.)
What is more likely is the scenario that was laid out in the paper in the Wallingford audit shows healthy revenue article - $2.16 million will be added to the town’s general fund, which grows to $24,804,000. Of that balance, $6,471,000 remains unappropriated. $11,794,000 — is retained to show creditors the town is well-off financially.
Cheshire - Total Budget: $98.7 million Surplus: $1 million Unassigned Fund Balance: $9.4 million Credit Rating: AAA (Fitch) Aa1 (Moody’s)
Wallingford - Total Budget: $145.1 million Surplus: $2.1 million Unassigned Fund Balance: $18.1 million Credit Rating: Aaa (Moody’s)
Aaa - An obligor has EXTREMELY STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. – Wallingford
Aa1, - An obligor has VERY STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest rated obligors only in small degree.- Cheshire
Aa2 and Aa3 also fall into that “An obligor has VERY STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest rated obligors only in small degree” bucket – SOURCE.
I will remind our taxpayers of just one additional thing – when your tax situation changes, you sell your business (and no longer pay those taxes), downsize your home or move away you are never going to get a refund on these excess taxes you are paying right now. You will never see an increase or added service for the dollars you paid to the town.
It is impossible to hit the budget target on the nose but as I pointed out last year, as a freshman councilor versus as 30 year sitting mayor, we fudge the numbers way too much.
This is nothing short of being over taxed year after year.
There are a lot of numbers in this article – let me summarize for you.
If Wallingford’s total tax bill this budget season goes up less than 4.3 percent on the full budget for a new budget of $153.4 million AND our tax bills go up then the shell game is getting played again and you are being overtaxed.
See you in April at the budget hearings.