Voters resoundingly approved a proposed
The troubled plan, which has been deemed to be in "critical" status by the state, was in danger of running out of money in 10 years if no corrective action was taken.
The situation is so serious that the pension debt caused the town's bond rating to drop below junk bond level and also prompted warnings from the state
"I think this shows that voters support what we've been trying to accomplish," Town Manager
If voters had rejected the budget, it would have been the demise of a financial recovery plan that town officials have worked months on and which included major concessions from unions and retirees.
"This has been a full-blown community effort," Councilman
"This is a win for the town and a day that
The budget approved Thursday will result in a 2.9 percent property tax increase for homeowners and will be reflected in the bills that are mailed at the end of June.
The new tax rate for single-family and owner-occupied two-family homes will increase from
With the average single-family home in town assessed at
Under the new budget the town will make the proper annual payment into its pension plan -- roughly
In order to make that payment -- which had initially been forecasted as being in excess of
Among other things, the agreements temporarily freeze cost-of-living increases for current and future retirees, freeze the salaries of police, fire and municipal employees for the next five years and implement health insurance concessions.
In all, the concessions represent an annual savings of about
Teachers made health insurance and other budget concessions in order to free up funds to go into the municipal pension plan, officials said.
Presley said that
"Everybody came to the table and did their part," Presley said.
The budget approved Thursday is part of a five-year financial recovery plan for
Future tax-rate increases are expected to be in the 2-percent range over the next few years under the plan, he said, but could be mitigated by an improving economy and local economic development.
Every annual budget will still need voter approval.
The new rate for buildings with more than six units will be
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