I’d like to invite you all out to review the 2019 Town of Verona Budget on November 20th at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall. There’s a lot of good news I can tell you, including that your local mill rate is actually projected to go down just a bit, but there are also a lot of financial challenges that the Town is going to face in the coming years. I’d like you to be part of the conversation about how we tackle those challenges together.
For years, the Town had held a flat tax rate for local services and balanced the budget each year without going into debt. Due to some new development, we’ve seen tax revenue increase this year and more next year, but that’s not enough to address costs that the Town can’t control. Next year’s budget is projected to be $1,539,410. That’s approximately $53,000 less than in 2018, in part because some transportation funds we depend on aren’t available next year. We also aren’t planning any major equipment purchases (trucks) or any major road reconstruction. However, we have increased our public works spending by approximately 30% to help address the condition of our roads through surface maintenance.
Our Emergency Medical and Fire Service costs will go up, as will the amount we have to contribute to the Belleville Senior Center for senior services (Meals on Wheels and Case Management). In turn, our cost for General Government (office/town hall operations) will remain flat, and the amount spent on Conservation and Development will go down, due in part to the completion of the comprehensive plan.
There was a time not too long ago that we thought the Town would either have to consolidate with the City of Verona, or just eventually shrink out of existence. Neither is the case anymore, but we are going to have to plan for the increased demands as we maintain the Town as an independent, financially sustainable, safe, and healthy rural community.
I hope to see you on the 20th so we can plan for the future of the Town together.