Depending on what the Joint Finance Committee ultimately decides, Warren residents could see very little change to their 2013 tax bill.
During Tuesday evening's Warren Town Council Meeting, the council made a motion to preliminarily approve the proposed 2012-2013 fiscal year budget at an estimated $21,949,738. That amount would raise the town's tax rate by only one cent, from $17.15 to $17.16 per thousand dollars. But whether that number holds firm will depend on what the Joint Finance Committee decides regarding Warren's contribution to the Bristol Warren Regional School District budget.
"A great deal of time, energy, blood and sweat went into getting this budget to where it is," said Council President Chris Stanley. Stanley thanked all of the departments for working through the budget with the Council.
Council member Scott Lial agreed, adding that this is "one of the most trying financial times Warren has ever seen."
Though members of the Town Council have worked dilligently in attempt to keep the town budget equal to the FY12 budget, the town's education contribution is the wild card in the mix that could make or break the preliminary budget.
The Bristol Warren Regional School District currently has requested a contribution of more than $12 million. That would cost the Town of Warren an additional $624,567 over last year, an increase of more than five percent. But the Warren Town Council plans to level fund the school budget in hopes that a reappropriation of surplus funds (accumulated from overfunding the school department in previous years) will make up the difference in the school's request.
On Friday evening, the Warren Town Council met and made a motion to level fund the school department with $11,748,690, the same contribution as FY12. On Tuesday, the Council approved the preliminary budget with level funding to the school in mind. The ultimate decision lies with the Joint Finance Committee, which will make the final appropriations during its meeting on Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. at Mt. Hope High School.