FY 2018 Draft Budget
Aaron Frank, Deputy Town Manager/CFO
The proposed FY 18 budget maintains our current level of service while recognizing we have had an increase in service demands and operational costs caused by slow, steady growth over the past decade.
The Combined Operating and Capital Budget is $11,486,876, net of non-property tax revenues. This is an increase of 1.77% ($199,423.37) over the FY 2017 Combined Budget.
With an estimated 1.14% growth in the Grand List the estimated municipal tax rate for 2017-2018 is $0.5473. This is an increase of 1/3 of one cent or a 0.62% increase over the prior year.
We have eliminated one and reduced seven areas of the twenty-six categories of our operating budget. Before factoring in non-tax revenues, the operating budget increase is 2.4% and comprised of:
- 1.4% ($174,499) to maintain current services
- 1% ($122,566) for additional services including:
- $39,800 for the volunteer fire departments
- $50,000 for Public Works to maintain public highways and sidewalks; these have expanded by 10% in the last 5 years, now a combined total of 147 miles
- $4,500 for four more hours a week of Library adult programming
- $3,400 to the Police Department for an additional Community Service Officer and $16,000 for special programs and technology
- $4,000 to Special Services Transportation Agency (SSTA) rides for seniors and persons with disabilities.
The Selectboard, Management, and employees reduce taxes by:
- Reducing expenditures through staff restructuring, vehicle changes and energy efficiencies. For example, a change in the police fleet will reduce capital costs by $150,000 over ten years; reduce labor costs by $2,200 annually; and cut fuel costs by $5,300 annually.
- Aggressively pursuing grants. Last year, 1/3 of the Town’s capital improvements were covered by $900,000+ from grants.
- Sharing equipment and resources. Colchester shares a street sweeper with Milton; Milton shares culvert thawing equipment with Colchester. We also share our Dispatch Center with Milton and they pay 40% of our dispatch costs.
Maximizing Non-tax Revenues:
- 18% of our general operating budget comes from non-tax revenues
- Fees for services and non-tax revenues are up by 5.2% ($110,030) for a total of $2,230,455 including Rescue revenues, Planning and Zoning fees, Wastewater operation services fees, and about sixty other areas of non-tax revenue
- Using prior year’s surpluses to fund future services. The FY 18 budget includes $210,661 in surplus from FY 16 which reduces FY 18 taxes
Additional budget information is available at: http://colchestervt.gov/367/Proposed-Budget
Local Option Tax: As of September 30 the Town has had the local option tax in place for a full year. The first year’s receipts totaled $1,350,487. The local option tax is used to pay voter approved debt and it served to reduce our tax rate by 5%.
FY 17 Budget: Four months through the fiscal year General Fund revenues are higher than expenses by $307,320:
- Revenue is 1% higher than expected at this point in the year:
- Ambulance revenues are up $32,452+ from this time last year
- Town Clerk and Planning and Zoning revenues, Police grants, and general grants are all over budget
With 32% spent, FY 2017 expenses are 1% under budget (Public Works/Highway, Police and Burnham Library are significantly under budget) for a net positive of 2%.