Residents here have and the , in part, to thank for the 5 percent in increase in the proposed 2012-13 budget.
Town Manager Barbara Gilbert released the budget for the first time today and said those two extreme weather events made her realize that there are certain expenditures the town can no longer afford to ignore.
For instance, the town is setting up a storm recovery line ($100,000) to acquire items such as toothbrushes and blankets for emergency situations. During the snowstorm, the town had problems with its emergency communications because of lost phone connections. The budget also includes acquiring a microwave transmitter ($40,000) mandated by the FCC to help improve communications between the fire, police, ambulance, highway and parks departments and no longer rely on phone service in emergency situations.
The proposed budget, is $63,293,752, which is $3,203,575, or 5.3 percent, higher than . The proposed tax rate was set at 26.1 mills per $1,000 of assessed property value, an increase of 1.6 mills.
In her budget message, Gilbert said this year's proposal is "very different from budgets of the last few years." She said the two major storms last year made her realize that certain initiatives can no longer be deferred.
"If the town continues putting necessary expenditures off to future budget years; the town will reach a point where it will be difficult and costly to get caught up," Gilbert said in her message to the mayor and town council. "This could cause deterioration in how the town meets the needs of providing the services for residents."
The first public hearing on the budget will be April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Town Hall.
The proposed budget includes contractual salary increases for all town employees. All town employees agreed no to take raises last year. The union for the highway and parks department employees is currently negotiating with the town. All other town union contracts are not subject to negotiations this fiscal year.
The Board of Education of $30,353,935, which represents a 3.54 percent increase from this year's budget on Feb. 9.
The proposed town budget includes the hiring of one full-time tax collector, one full-time uniformed , one full-time highway supervisor and one full-time employee.
Some capital improvement projects include funds toward the replacement of ($50,000), two new police patrol cars and an unmarked Taurus ($116,982), two Ford pickup trucks with plows for the Parks Department ($21,000) and a ($28,000).
Town building improvements include making upgrades to the and to make the buildings comply with ADA standards. Funding toward a new mini bus for the Human Services Department is also in the proposed budget.
The 2012-13 proposed annual budget for town of Rocky Hill is attached as a PDF.