Stockbridge town offices (copy)

Stockbridge will hold its annual town meeting Saturday, outside the Town Offices. Residents will decide on a budget that carries an average tax hike of 1.7 percent.

STOCKBRIDGE — The Select Board and Town Administrator Michael Canales have put the finishing touches on the proposed budget plan for fiscal 2022, reflecting a preliminary estimate of a 1.7 percent increase in property taxes, on average, for single-family residences.

The operating budget, approved by the board in a 3-0 vote, is $7,554,952, a reduction of $61,098 from the current fiscal year ending June 30.

The town’s assessment from the Berkshire Hills Regional School District for educating local youngsters is an additional $3,158,215, representing a $217,652 increase, or nearly 7 percent, over the current year.

The projected Stockbridge tax rate is $9.95 per $1,000 of assessed value.

That’s up 1.7 percent, amounting to an estimated tax increase of just under $95 for the average single-family home valued at $565,000.

Canales, presenting the plan to the Select Board last week, stressed that the projected tax impact is preliminary but “very conservative,” since only $50,000 of new growth was baked into the budget.

“We could easily end up beating that number,” Canales said, “but this is a safe number.” If there’s additional new growth, the property tax increase would be lowered.

The state Department of Revenue calculates the final tax burden before the end of the calendar year.

Capital funding for road and bridge projects, a new fire engine and other infrastructure upgrades, would come from free cash or stabilization reserves, as well as available state grants, Canales pointed out.

Select Board members praised Canales for the spending plan. “You’re doing a great job getting this budget together,” said Chairman Ernest “Chuck” Cardillo, offering similar compliments to department heads and the Finance Committee.

“A fantastic job,” Select Board members Patrick White and Roxanne McCaffrey agreed.

The budget, up for a vote at the annual town meeting at 10 a.m. June 12 outside the Town Offices, includes a $268,871 assessment from the towns of Lee and Lenox for ambulance service provided to Stockbridge. That’s a $9,129 reduction from last year.

The final warrant for the meeting is expected to be completed this week, Canales said, and then will be posted on the town website.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter

@BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.