By LISA CAPOBIANCO
After weeks of disagreement, the Plainville Town Council has set a mill rate of 31.38, which reflects a zero tax increase for the next fiscal year.
Last month, Plainville Council Republicans wanted to see a zero tax increase for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, suggesting the town should keep the current mill rate of 31.38. When they proposed to set the next fiscal year’s mill rate, the vote failed 4-3. Although that vote appears to be a winning one, the town charter requires a majority of five in favor.
During a Town Council meeting last Monday, the Republicans’ proposal did not change.
“I haven’t changed my opinion,” said Republican Town Councilor Scott Saunders, noting how Plainville is in good shape financially. “I think we have an opportunity to give the taxpayers a zero mill increase at zero damage to the town.”
During the meeting, Democratic Town Councilor Quinn Christopher made a motion to set the mill rate at 31.54, which would have been a tax increase of 0.16 mills.
In an e-mail sent to the Observer following the meeting, Democrats expressed the reasoning behind their disapproval of keeping the mill rate at 31.38, noting how it would hurt Plainville taxpayers down the road. The Democrats said in the e-mail they are concerned about spending additional one time revenues to offset operational expenses. They said spending additional one time revenues could result in a larger tax increase the following year.
“I do support the mill rate of 31.54—I think it’s reasonable, I think it’s fair, I think it sets us up in a comfortable financial position for next year,” said Christopher during the meeting.
Chairperson Kathy Pugliese voted against the motion made by Christopher, noting that Plainville is currently in “excellent financial condition.” During the meeting, Town Manager Robert Lee said revenues are coming in higher than expected for FY 14, without taking into account the closing of the school building projects.
“I believe the citizens of Plainville deserve a zero mill increase without any nega-tive impact next year or many years in the future to our financial condition,” said Pugliese.
During the final vote, all four Republicans did not support the motion made by Democrats to increase the mill rate. After initially choosing to abstain from voting,
Democratic Councilor Patrick Kilby voted against the motion, which resulted in a final vote of 5 to 2. It was unclear how an abstained vote would affect the final vote for the motion made. Town Attorney Michael Mastrianni said he would look further into that question.
Lee said the town staff will prepare to send out tax bills at the current mill rate, adding that if the Council voted to increase or decrease the mill rate before the second bill payment in January, taxpayers would receive an adjusted bill.