Dear New Canaan Residents,
My name is James Basch.
I recently informed our town government bodies that I plan to pursue a budget referendum if our property tax mill rate in the upcoming fiscal year is increased by more than 4 percent. A referendum will compel reconsideration of a budget by the Board of Finance. It requires that 5 percent of town residents registered to vote (roughly 650 people) sign it. The town of Meriden successfully passed a referendum earlier this year after their town government proposed a 4.66 percent property tax mill rate increase.
The context for the referendum draws on a key fact: our town government continues to increase operating expenses in the face of rapidly declining real estate values and thus, lower revenues from the property taxes that comprise the vast majority of the town’s funding. The extent of this decline will be determined by a five-year real estate revaluation being done this month.
In March of this year, our first selectman projected that “Grand List could be down several hundred million dollars” for FY 2019-2020 after the revaluation.