Tax Rate Review Discussion Delayed

BERLIN – Though the pandemic has slowed the process, Berlin is set to begin budget discussions next month.

On Monday, elected officials voted to extend the town’s tax rate review schedule since the municipality would not be able to meet dates stipulated in the 2019 resolution.

“I hate to give the excuse that it was pandemic driven, but it was pandemic driven,” Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said.

According to Fleetwood, the council in 2019 passed a resolution regarding tax rate review. It stipulated that at or before the second meeting in January, officials would review financial projections. It also stipulated that the council would set the date for the tax rate public hearing at or before the second meeting in February and that the public hearing for the tax rate would be held no later than the second meeting in March.

Because the council was not able to review the financial projections this week, Monday’s agenda included a motion to extend the tax rate review schedule. Fleetwood said a presentation on financial projections would occur at the first meeting in February.

The council voted unanimously to extend the deadline for the review of the financial projections to Feb. 8.

Fleetwood went on to say that in his preliminary review of the six-month actual versus budget figures, he hadn’t seen anything “overly glaring.”

“Overall, it’s pretty sound,” he said.

He added that the budget schedule would be available on the town’s website.

“It will say very clearly for each step of the budget cycle when public comment is welcome,” he said. “Please take a look at that. It’s very clear.”

According to the schedule, the council will review general fund and enterprise fund financials on Feb. 8. On March 8, there will be a first reading of the tax rate. A public hearing on the tax rate is set for March 22 and budget work sessions will follow in April. A public hearing and proposed adoption of the town’s budget is scheduled for May 24.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.