Newington Town Officials Worry About State Budget Delay Impact On Residents

Town Manager Tanya Lane is moving forward with sending out motor vehicle tax bills despite no clear direction from the state on what the mill rate should be.

“Rather than wait and see what the state does, we’ll send them out,” Lane said.

Lane said that despite the uncertainty with the state budget, proceeding with mailing out the motor vehicle tax bill at a rate of 36.59 mills by Oct. 1 would be best for residents.

“I think not sending them out is worse,” she said. “My goal is to get these out. I’d rather get these out to the taxpayers.”

Town council members echoed Lane’s concerns, noting that the longer the town waits to bill residents the closer it will be to the holiday season.

“People are worried about it coming closer to the holidays, which could affect our collection rate,” councilman Jim Marocchini said.

Deputy Mayor David Nagel said residents have been wondering where their motor vehicle tax bills are.

“This is the first time residents have wanted to pay a tax bill … they’re eager to know how much it’s going to be,” he said.

The motor vehicle tax rate was not the only troubling matter before the council on Tuesday due to the state’s failure to pass a budget.

Director of Communications and Member Relations at the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Kevin Maloney gave guidance at the council meeting about how town officials should proceed with their finances under the current budget circumstances.

The state has failed to pass a budget and towns, including Newington, are facing possible cuts to their educational cost sharing grants and their payment in lieu of taxes funds.

“Things at the Capitol are in a great state of flux,” Maloney said. “We’re 12 weeks into the new fiscal year and it’s upsetting for Newington and many other towns in the state.”

Council members asked Maloney questions about the governor’s proposed plan to have towns pay part of teacher pension plans and where the state currently stands with municipal aid.

“We’re hoping a compromise comes out and that it is manageable,” Maloney said. “We’re trying to minimize the impact to the towns while recognizing that the town will have to participate in some degree.”

Council members are concerned about how the town will be impacted if the governor slashes municipal aid.

“If the worst-case scenario does ensue, everything is on the table,” Lane said. “We’re looking at furloughs. We’re looking at layoffs. We’re looking at reduced library hours.”

Copyright © 2018, CT Now