Tuesday, May 13
NEW ASHFORD — Voters at tonight's annual town meeting will be asked to approve a $557,000 budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, an almost 15 percent increase over the current budget.

Much of the $73,000 increase is represented by a $33,420 appropriation to cover a shortfall in the current year's education spending, according to the warrant for the town meeting.

The town will also ask voters to approve using $25,000 from free cash to replace the Town Hall roof and $4,000 from free cash for a new sander.

The largest line item — $404,310 — will fund the town's education expenses for the year, up from $339,983 in the current year.

Kevin Flicker, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the school budget is always difficult to predict. "People come in and out of town. Given that each (student) costs $10,000, one kid moving in or out impacts our budget pretty significantly, so we never really know until we know who is attending school."

Flicker said the budget would require the town to raise taxes by an estimated $0.25 for every $1,000 in assessed value.

If that number holds up, it would create a new tax rate of $7.79 per $1,000 in assessed value, or an increase of $50 a year for a house valued at $200,000.

Flicker said the town is also considering hiring someone at a rate of $500 to write the annual town report. The Selectmen will seek candidates at the town meeting.


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