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This Month's Krier
News From the Town Hall
Town Budget. It looks as if the Grand List will remain pretty much level with last year. Normally we would know by now, because by statute, each town's grand list of taxable property for October 1 must be reported to the state by January 31 of the following year. Calculation of the October 2015 Grand List has been delayed, however, because of problems with the lists of registered vehicles that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles provides to the towns. The assessor expects to have the Grand List completed this month. Meanwhile, we are again working to control our budget as closely as possible.

The Grand List is crucial because property taxes are the way we pay for town infrastructure such as roads, parks, and the transfer station; public safety; and, most of all, education. We don't have a choice on this; other taxes that you pay, such as state income and sales taxes, go to the state government. We get only a small portion of that revenue back, in the form of municipal aid and educational cost sharing.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. I was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, a nonpartisan organization of 158 of the 169 municipalities in the state. CCM advocates in the state legislature on behalf of local taxpayers, by trying to increase the amount of state tax revenue that comes back to the towns and reduce the demands on town—property tax—revenue. CCM also provides research and information sharing and negotiates for certain shared services for municipalities.

Among CCM's priorities this year is to get a restriction on unfunded mandates—requirements that the towns or the school districts undertake initiatives without financial support from the state. These mandates are another way the state shifts the tax burden to town property taxes. For example, in its last session, the legislature enacted a law requiring training for each registrar of voters costing $1,800—to be paid for by the town.

Connecticut General Assembly. This year's session of the state legislature runs from February 3 to May 30. I will work with CCM and with our local Council of Governments to protect the town's interests. In addition, I will be speaking with our representatives about a range of issues, from restraints on shooting within close proximity of homes to recycling of carbon monoxide detectors. I encourage you to contact State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (860-240-0455 or 1-800-842-1420) and State Representative Jesse MacLachlan (860-240-8700) with any legislative concerns you would like to discuss. I am also happy to convey your ideas.