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Monday, November 20 News

Westport’s finance board sets mill rate, same as last year

WESTPORT — The mill rate is unchanged from last year, sitting at 16.86.

That is not to say homeowners won’t see an increase or decrease in their property taxes if their assessment went up or down.

For a house assessed at $1 million, that homeowner will pay $16,866 in property taxes.

Unanimously agreed upon by the finance board, the mill rate comes after the Representative Town Meeting approved an overall budget of $204 million, which covers the town budget of $78 million and the $126 million school board spending plan.

Chairman Brian Stern said the board was able to maintain a flat tax rate because the town kept the reserve fund at 11 percent of the overall budget, which is $23.9 million.

“This reflects the policy of the Board of Finance which has been, over the last seven or eight years, to keep the rate as constant as you can — bearing in mind that every four years we have a revaluation — but, basically its fairly constant,” Stern said. “That doesn’t mean to say that every house will be paying the same amount because houses do change in value.”

Board member Lee Caney said the town needs to seriously consider consolidating resources — like IT, human resources and healthcare, “There is money to be saved there and we’ve been talking about this — I’ve been on the board now four years — for four years. Let’s go ahead and do it then because we’re going to need those savings.”

Board members did not hold back in congratulating themselves and the collective work of the town on keeping the rate flat.

“I just want to say thank you to everybody in this room,” Jen Tooker said. “This was good management. These were tough decisions to make. There was leadership involved in this and hats off to everybody because we said we needed a community response to a mess that we didn’t create and I think we did pretty darn well.”

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