LANESBOROUGH — Local taxpayers could be paying more to run the town in the new fiscal year. The $10.1 million question is, how much?
The $10.1 million is the proposed fiscal 2022 spending plan that, if approved at the June annual town meeting, would be an increase of $230,000, or 2.28 percent, from the current budget of $9.87 million. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
The true impact on home and business owners won't be known until the fall, when municipal financial officials set the property tax rate. The current rate stands at $20.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Several factors in setting the tax rate remain unknown, according to Town Manager Kelli Robbins, but did make an educated guess during a Zoom meeting of the Select Board this week.
"[The tax rate] won't go up more than 48 cents, based on my calculations," she said.
While a 48-cent hike would wipe out the 40-cent decrease for fiscal 2021, it's significantly less than the spikes totaling $3.32 from fiscal 2017-19. Town officials taking a more financially conservative approach, as well as a more stabilized economy, allowed the town to lower the tax rate in fiscal 2020 and 2021, down to the current level.
Still, that is 92 cents more the $19.36 for fiscal 2016.
The single-biggest budget line item is the town's assessment to the Mount Greylock Regional School District. The $5.86 million cost to taxpayers, up 1.62 percent, compared with fiscal 2021, accounts for 58 percent of the overall municipal spending plan.
Robbins says other key increases are:
• Town Hall account ($95,133), up nearly 30 percent due mainly to ongoing repairs;
• Assessor's Department ($94,121), a nearly 20 percent increase, in part because of $6,000 being set aside toward property revaluation in fiscal 2023;
• Veterans Services ($31,975), up nearly 32 percent, to make up for a deficit and assist more veterans in need.