August 9, 2020

Lyme Board of Finance Unanimously Sends $10.6 Million Budget for Final Approval at May 12 Meeting

Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Dan Hagan.

LYME — Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Dan Hagan hosted a swift, virtual Public Hearing on the proposed 2020-21 Lyme Town Budget Tuesday evening with not a single member of the public and just one member of the press attending the Zoom meeting.

Hagan summarized the numbers noting the proposed budget called for total expenses of $10,688,087, which represents a reduction of $326,155 (3%) over the previous year’s budget of $11,014,242. He noted that revenues of $10,607,533. were anticipated leaving a general fund balance at the end of June 2021 of $2,192,000, which he said was, “well over the two months of operating budget that the town expects to have on hand.”

Reviewing the income section in detail, Hagan noted that revenues were increasing from $10,428,173 to $10,607,533 with 90 percent of the town’s income coming from general property taxes. He explained that these showed “a sizable increase” primarily due to the value of Eversource’s property in town increasing by some $6 million after major upgrades, giving the town an additional $140,000 in revenue.

On the expense side, Hagan highlighted the “major portion [of expenditure] at 65 percent of the total as being the $6,442,000 to Region 18 Schools, which represents a decrease from the current year’s figure of $6,579,421. Noting that this decrease is accounted for by two factors, Hagan explained firstly, “the schools decreased their budget overall for next year by almost 1 percent” primarily due to refinancing their debt service.  Secondly, he pointed out that Lyme pays a share of the total Region 18 budget based on the percentage of the student population for which it accounts in terms of residents.  The 2019-20 percentage was 19.3 whereas the 2020-21 number has reduced to 18.5 percent. He described the combination of these favorable factors as “a big plus for us.”

Hagan mentioned two expense amounts in the budget for bridge work on the Birch Mill Rd. Bridge ($25,000) and Macintosh Rd. Bridge ($250,100), saying the former was ongoing but the latter would likely be moved into next year due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Commenting that the budget also called for moving various monies into savings funds, he described that as a “fantastic” achievement. He then concluded by thanking all involved for “doing a great job,” and creating a budget, which would not only enable the town to hold the mill rate steady for another year, but also, “reflects the values of what we hold near and dear in Lyme.”

After reporting that, despite an email address being open for 21 days to receive questions from the public, not a single one had been received. Hagan asked for a motion to forward the budget for final approval at their May 12 meeting. No town meeting is required this year to approve the budget per the Governor’s Executive Order 7-B.

The vote was unanimous and the meeting adjourned at 6:44 p.m., precisely 14 minutes after it had started.

 

 

 

 

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