The $76.4 million annual budget represents about a 2 percent increase and delivers a number of new or augmented services from improved fire protection to staff to better handle short-term rentals, among other offerings.
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FISCAL 2022 BUDGET APPROVED IN MIDDLETOWN
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (JUNE 7, 2021) – The Town of Middletown has a $76.4 million budget for Fiscal 2022.
Although not the $75.9 million figure originally sought by the Town, the numbers adopted tonight by the Town Council from Town Hall to help move the community forward in meaningful, positive ways without adversely impacting existing services.
In terms of taxes, the new residential tax rate will be $12.00 per $1,000 of assessed value compared to $17.14 per $1,000 of assessed value for commercial properties. The normalized residential tax rate for the current Fiscal 2021 budget is $12.07 per $1,000 of assessed value and $16.15 per $1,000 of assessed value for commercial properties.
“After some conversations and some one-on-one (discussions), I think we’ve found some consensus,” council President Paul M. Rodrigues said.
Going into this financial season, local leaders acknowledged this was not going to be an easy budget to get approved.
With questions surrounding the state of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects on local residents, town officials said they didn’t want to push the envelope too much. At the same time, they acknowledged there were important needs that had to be addressed, meaning a fifth year of no tax increase was unlikely.
Since then, the council has met several times, trying to make sure the town got what it needed without asking for too much and potentially negatively impacting taxpayers who were having a tough time covering the bills.
Tonight, those conversations crystalized, with the council finding common ground on a number of items. Among those included:
- Providing a 2 percent increase in funding for the schools, or about $538,000.
- Reserving up to $10,000 for a consultant to study ways to improve the educational offerings for students to get them more ready for the “real world,” an item championed by Councilman Dennis Turano.
- Setting aside about $170,000 to help pay for new firefighters when grant money paying for those eight positions runs out.
- The purchase of two new pumper trucks for the Middletown Fire Department at a projected cost of $1.3 million. Money for the purchase will come from the town Rescue Wagon Fund, meaning new tax dollars will not be needed.
- Buying two new police cars, again paid for from the Rescue Wagon Fund, not new tax dollars.
- Hiring one new full-time laborer for the Public Works department.
- Reserving about $1.8 million to replace the sewer pump station at Marshall Village as well as the Paradise force main and related work.
- Allocating $17,000 to regular water testing of stormwater outfalls to provide data about the community’s infrastructure efforts.
- Adding a new Zoning Enforcement Officer who is responsible for overseeing short-term rentals.
- Providing about $43,000 for six part-time public safety interns for Middletown Police.
After the vote, Councilwoman M. Theresa Santos thanked Brown and his staff for answering the emails and questions that came in throughout the process.
“Thank you for all your hard work,” Santos said.