TRUMBULL — In the end, Town Council Republicans opted to just vote, rather than voice dissatisfaction, with a $126 million budget proposed for fiscal year 2007-08, carrying a tax boost of 1.04 mills.
But with six GOP members voting no, the Democratic-controlled council voted Monday to adopt the new spending package for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The final vote was 12-6.
The Republicans also made few attempts to win approval for cuts made to the budget proposal during the meeting.
"We are in the unfortunate position of being a super minority," Minority Leader Carl Massaro Jr. said. "For us to expect to sway five votes is unlikely; therefore it's easier to express our disappointment in a 5.5 percent increase in spending by voting against the budget."
Of the 21 seats on the council, Democrats hold 14.
The town side of the budget accounts for $49.8 million, while the school budget for the next fiscal year is $77.6 million.
This year, the education budget is $74.46 million, while the town side is $46.4 million.
During the relatively short budget session — the meeting lasted a little more than an hour — Republican Deborah Lamberti made a motion to reduce to 3 percent the increase in the first selectman's salary that failed along party lines.
The first selectman's salary now is $92,293. The council approved a 5 percent increase to $101,753 that will be effective after the November election. Elected officials are not entitled to an
increase during their terms of office.
Republican Chad Ciooci tried to get the council to restore $177,000 to the school board's $77.6 million budget, but that motion failed, with 10 members voting for the increase and eight voting against.
The Town Council's Finance Committee had recommended adding $250,000 back to the education budget, but that motion also failed to garner the needed votes.
In order to increase any account over the Board of Finance recommended level, a two-thirds majority — 14 votes — is needed.
If no surplus funds are used to offset the tax increase under the new budget, the tax bill on a home assessed at $300,000 would increase from $6,495 to $6,807.
On a home assessed at $450,000, which now has a tax bill of $9,742, the new bill would be $10,210.
Taxes on a home assessed at $550,000 would jump from $11,907 to $12,479.
However, the Board of Finance expects to use surplus funds, when it sets the mill rate in May, to ease the looming tax impact.
If $1.6 million is used, the tax rate would be 22.37 mills. That number would drop to 22.5 mills if $2.2 million of the surplus is used.
At a tax rate of 22.37 mills, the tax bill on the property assessed at $300,000 would be $6,711, while the bill would be $6,675 if more surplus funding is used to lower the new tax rate to 22.25 mills.
The home assessed at $450,000 would have a tax bill of $10,066 at 22.37 mills and $10,012 at 22.25 mills.
For the property with a $550,000 assessment, the tax bill would be $12,303 at 22.37 mills and $12,237 at 22.25 mills.