Berlin Discusses Budget Schedule

BERLIN – Town officials reviewed the coming year’s budget schedule last week.

The Berlin Town Council reviewed and added one additional work session item to the fiscal year 2023 budget schedule on Monday. The schedule is similar to last year’s but includes a work session on the tax rate in February.

“I would be presenting you with projections, just for discussion, to see what rates are there to support what we need for fiscal year 23,” Finance Director Natalie Saleh said.

The latest budget schedule has staff submitting information in January and a general fund capital projects work session on Feb. 14. The introduction of the tax rate is set for March 14 while the public hearing on the tax rate is set for March 28.

A general fund budget work session will be held April 4 and a work session for the utility funds will be held April 18. The budget is scheduled for introduction May 9 and a public hearing on the budget is slated for May 23.

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Councilman Jack Orris said he’d like to see the tax rate adopted when the budget was adopted.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a couple years, even before I decided to get involved on this side of the table,” he said. “It always seemed to me it was a little odd that we would set our tax rate prior to even having one public input session or work session. It always felt like to me personally, now I know more, but it always felt like we’d set something and back into it.”

Saleh said she was concerned because if the tax rate was not adopted at the level that would fund the budget it would essentially prevent adoption of the budget, which must be done by a certain date. There are also advertising requirements that need to be met related to the budget and tax rate.

As an alternative, she suggested incorporating a work session on the tax rate into the budget schedule. The council agreed to move the work session on Feb. 14 to 5 p.m. so that it would give the council time to discuss the tax rat as well as capital projects.

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.