OLD SAYBROOK — The town’s Board of Selectmen approved a $47,187,717 budget for fiscal year 2022, an increase of $167,292, or .36% over last year.
First Selectman Carl Fortuna said the town’s stable financial situation allowed Old Saybrook to project a slight decrease in the mill rate — from its current 20.05 to between 20.00 and 20.04. Last year, the mill rate increased from 19.75 to 20.05. Fortuna said this year is the second time in four years that the town has been able to lower the mill rate.
Fortuna said that in spite of the coronavirus, the town saw good tax collection numbers in both January 2021 and July 2020 — as of now, about 95 percent of the budgeted revenues have been collected. The town’s grand list increased by about $6 million, leading to a revenue increase of approximately $120,000.
The town budget also assumes $463,000 in anticipated funds coming from the state, an increase of $88,000 from last year, even while revenues from interest rates reached an all-time low.
The town’s debt service is projected to decline $2,851 as compared to last year.
Fortuna said the town budget increased $104,801, a .61 percent increase over last year. The major driver of the increase, according to the budget document, is a $154,000 increase in salaries, $127,000 of which is attributed to public safety.
Additional costs include $5,000 for translation services for the Department of Youth and Family Services and increased hours for a position in the library. The budget provides $242,857 for public works projects in the year 2022, including $135,000 for the gutters at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.
The Board of Education requested an increase of $65,342, or .24 percent, in this year’s budget, for a total of $26,771,365. The main driver of this was an increase in salaries for educators and staff.
“We continue to appropriately invest in capital projects, and we continue to invest in having healthy reserves for all our departments,” said Fortuna. “I believe this budget maintains the town in a very good position for the future.”