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Sharon approves town budget and mill rate

SHARON — The Board of Finance met in an online meeting on Tuesday, May 5, to consider public comments on the budget for the coming fiscal year and to recommend a mill rate to the Board of Selectmen. 

An executive order by Gov. Ned Lamont says that this year there will be no public hearings or town meetings on budgets because of COVID-19. In this unusual year, it is up to the selectmen in each town to give final approval on both education and municipal spending plans. 

The Board of Finance voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget and to establish the mill rate at 14.40, unchanged from the past two years.

The mill rate determines property taxes in Connecticut towns. A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. A 15-mill tax rate would translate into a tax bill of $1,500 for the owner of a home assessed at $100,000. 

The grand list is the total assessed value of all taxable property in a town.

Properties are assessed at 70 percent of their total value.

Public comments received in advance of and during the on-line meeting were mostly points of clarification. The salary paid to the town assessor came under question; the position was filled in recent months by the former assistant.  

First Selectman Brent Colley said that the Sharon assessor’s office is one of the best in the state and that the salary is justified because of the new assessor’s expertise. He added that there are not many assessors available for hire and that the assessor’s office generates many of the funds that the town operates on by determining property values. 

“We are looking to the future,” Colley said. Selectman Casey Flanagan agreed, finding the salary level fair. He added that assessors’ training takes years to complete.

Two residents supported the purchase of a map copier for Town Hall. Other comments favored pursuing proposals for wider connectivity to the internet. 

One resident suggested that the town offer support to residents, nonprofits and small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Finance Board Chair Karen Dignacco said that any such funding would need to be decided by the Board of Selectmen. Colley offered praise for the work of Miriam Jones, who directs the social services program.

“We are monitoring the situation,” Colley reported, praising Jones’ work and the contributions being made by the team of volunteers who are serving.

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