Tight Berlin Budget Expected

BERLIN – Money will be tight in Berlin next year, but the town’s budget is nowhere near a crisis.

Projected budget revenue figures for the next fiscal year are not yet available.

“It is going to be a little tighter,” Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said.

The town should have some solid number projections in the next few weeks, but Williams said he did not want to speculate on those figures.

“We already faced tougher choices last year than this year,” Williams said. “I think we’ll have to have some reductions but not any as dramatic as we had in the past.”

Last year, the town cut roughly $750,000 in budget requests from the final budget. This year, the amount cut should be much less.

“We have been budgeting conservatively historically and particularly in the last budget. We don’t have to make major adjustments. We bit the bullet in the front of the process,” said Williams.

Fortunately, since the town’s growth and corresponding increase in property tax revenue happened relatively recently, the town had not learned to depend on that extra income, Williams said.            All projects now underway should continue, although some might be slowed down or reduced in scope.

The town should continue to provide the same level of service to citizens.

“No way is it going to be detrimental to any of the principal services we provide,” said Williams.

Although other jurisdictions have already spent weeks working on their budgets, Berlin will just be starting the formal process in the next few weeks.

“We’re starting to look at the budget for next year,” said Lynn Musgrave, senior accountant, during the Berlin Mayor and Council meeting Monday night.

After holding an informal budget meeting with the heads of the town’s different departments in January, Berlin’s staffers should be ready for a formal budget meeting in early March, said Williams.

“That finally begins the process,” Williams said.

The mayor said he anticipates two public work sessions in April, as has been the custom in Berlin, one on the general fund and one on the town’s utilities.

Williams said he would present a balanced budget to the Berlin Mayor and Council for review in April.

“I anticipate the process to be even smoother than last year’s. It’ll be fine,” said Williams.