The Village of Thomaston approved a $2.7 million budget for 2022-23 highlighted by a three-percent decrease in taxes during Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting.
Thomaston Mayor Steven Weinberg touted the village’s utilization of state and federal grants along with proper fiscal foresight and management.
“This truly is a milestone that should be recognized,” Weinberg said in a phone interview with Blank Slate Media. “I think it’s unheard of to have a village that has no tax increases for 12 years, which is what we’ve done, and in the 13th year, having a decrease in taxes.”
In the 2021-22 budget, the village’s tax rate per $100 of assessed value was 34.495. In 2022-23, the tax rate decreased to 33.481. According to the budget, the village is anticipating more than $1.4 million in revenue from taxes in 2022-23.
Though the budget itself increased by nearly 25 percent, going from $2.1 million in 2021-22 to $2.7 million in 2022-23, the roughly $540,000 increase in expenditures comes from the village’s need for a new street sweeper and road repairs on Colonial Road and Crescent Road. Weinberg said the village has known about the need to fix those roads for the past few years, but neither warranted immediate repairs.
Weinberg said the village plans to put out a bid sometime in the spring with repaving of the roads occurring during the summer months while the school buses are not in service.
“Our roads are in fantastic shape and we want to keep it that way,” Weinberg said. “What really kills the roads is when water gets underneath and crumbles the structure underneath. If the structure underneath the road does not deteriorate, which is what we have, all we have to do is mill and pave.”
The costs of the street sweeper and the road repairs, part of the village’s five-year capital plan, come out to $750,000, according to the budget. Weinberg said grants received by the village offset some of those costs and result in an increase of less than $500,000.
Aside from obtaining $1.4 million in revenue from taxes, according to the budget, the village also anticipates receiving more than $1.2 million from state and federal grants, fees, fines and building permits.
“There are grants that we apply for almost annually and they’re a significant revenue item,” Weinberg said. “We make sure to take advantage of all the categories. Our job is to make sure we don’t leave money on the table. We want to take advantage of all these other sources.”
The village, according to the budget, is receiving $222,000 from the state’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, which will offset some of the costs of the road repairs and equipment, Weinberg said. The village also received an additional $133,455 in federal aid and another $50,000 in “other state aid,” according to the budget.
Weinberg lauded the work of the village’s full-time staffers and other board members for their help in creating a budget that decreases taxes and provides beneficial services to residents for the next year.
“This is all because of long-term planning and hard work,” he said. “Our full-time employees that really work around the clock don’t get paid extra for that work. They don’t get paid overtime. That’s something they do because they care, which is why all of us do it.”