Berlin’s $17.1M Budget Includes No Increases For Property Owners

BERLIN – Berlin residents face no increased costs for municipal services in the budget proposed this week by town officials.

On Tuesday, the Mayor and Council introduced a $17.1 million budget for the coming fiscal year. The budget is 11 percent higher than that of FY 2015 but includes no increases for residents.

“As has been our course for several years, I believe the overall result of the FY 2016 proposed budget enables the Town of Berlin to maintain a financially stable budget with continued incremental improvements in municipal services,” Mayor Gee Williams said, “while allowing the town to continue to invest in infrastructure and property to provide permanent benefits to the community in the future.”

The proposed budget includes general fund expenditures of $5.1 million, an increase of 10 percent over the current year.

The town’s electric fund budget for FY 2016 is $5.5 million. Williams said a new purchase power agreement had enabled the town to decrease the budget by $147,241.

The town’s water, sewer and stormwater budgets are all proposed to increase in the coming year. The water budget is up 16 percent at $1.1 million while the sewer budget has increased by 18 percent. Much of that, Williams said, was because of an increase in revenue from special connection fees the town is expecting from upcoming developments.

The town’s stormwater budget, which has been growing through the influx of fees and grants, is set at $2.1 million in FY 2016. The budget has increased steadily since the department’s creation in FY 2013.

Williams said the proposed budget included a three percent salary increase for town employees. Health insurance costs will stay steady for the fifth consecutive year.

Williams credited staff with their efforts during the months-long budgeting process, which he said was more comprehensive than any before.

“More time and possibly more effort have been put into the preparation of this budget than any I have been associated with since first being elected,” he said.

The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed budget before it is adopted on June 8 at the town’s regular meeting of the mayor and council.