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Scotland to address budget mess

By TRACI HASTINGS

Chronicle Staff Writer

SCOTLAND — Scotland’s public hearing on its budget crisis will be held this Thursday.

In August, Scotland First Selectman Daniel Syme said the town was in danger of becoming insolvent.

The town does not have an approved budget for 2017-18.

At the annual town meeting in May, selectmen asked the townspeople to vote down the general government budget because of the uncertainty at that time on how much state revenue the town would receive.

Selectmen said the town would wait to put forth a budget until the state had one, which it still does not.

In June, with no state budget in sight, selectmen told townspeople at a special town meeting the town would operate on 2016-17’s budget, expending 25 percent of it for the first quarter of this year, which townspeople approved.

Voters did approve the local board of education budget last spring and the Regional School District 11 budget was also approved at a district-wide referendum last May.

Without factoring in a decrease in state revenues, the town’s costs alone meant a projected mill rate hike from 38.68 mills to 44.25 at that time.

For a home assessed at $150,000, it would mean a tax hike of at least $835 this year.

With municipal aid proposals drastically reduced and with education costs still needing to be met, Syme projects the town could be bankrupt by 2018.

The Scotland Board of Selectmen will host a public hearing on the budget situation, for discussion only, at 7 p.m. Thursday at the public safety complex.

A special town meeting to vote on approving the expenditure of another 25 percent of last year’s budget for the second quarter of this year, if no state budget is ready, will be held Sept. 21 at the same time and place.

 

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