by Nat Frothingham
When voters in Montpelier go to the polls for City Meeting on Tuesday, March 6,the part of the proposed budget that will fund City of Montpelier (not school)expenses will be increased at a rate roughly on track with the 2 percent rise in the federal consumer price index.
To be exact, according to a December 13, 2017 City of Montpelier budget summary, “The net result of revenues and expenses is the $9,359,262 in property tax revenues will be required for the municipal (not school) portion of the budget. This FY 2019 budget is an increase of$217,424 or 2.4 percent over the FY 2018 budget.
In even more specific terms, a householder in Montpelier who owns an average residential property, reckoned to be a home worth $228,000, would be asked to pay an additional $44.08on his or her FY 2019 tax bill over what was paid in FY 2018.
“I think inflation is 2.2 percent,” said City Manager Bill Fraser in a phone conversation withThe Bridge. The city’s 2.4 percent increase roughly tracks the rate of inflation.
In further comments, Fraser noted that healthcare costs for the City of Montpelier’s employees “stayed almost flat this year.” Overall employee benefits were up by 2.1 percent. Wages also, increased at around 2.0 percent. Some of these fluctuations can be explained by people who retire or leave. Then along come the new employees who replace them but not always at exactly the same salary.
Of interest is the fact that the city’s grand list —meaning the value of all the properties in the city—grew at a very modest 0.5 percent from the FY 2018 level.
As part of the proposed FY 2019 budget, the City of Montpelier is proposing three bonds to pursue various infrastructure projects.
One bond for $1.3 million is for finishing the bike path, continued work on fixing the sidewalks, and contingency funding for the One Taylor Street project including the Taylor Street bike path or other projects.
A second bond for $1.3 million is for a range of water/sewer line upgrades on selected streets across the city.
A third bond for Water Resource Recovery Facility upgrades appears to still be in the late planning and analysis stages and the full amount of that bond is “yet to be determined.”
Of note in the FY 2019 budget proposal is an attempt “to advance the [city’s] Economic Development Strategic Plan” and the city proposes to contribute $100,000 to the new Montpelier Development Corporation. This corporation was founded with the expectation that it would encourage new business development in Montpelier.