Financial Town Meeting is on for Monday

Financial Town Meeting is on for Monday

LINCOLN – Lincoln’s annual Financial Town Meeting is set for next Monday, June 21, starting at 7 p.m. in the Lincoln High School auditorium.

The purpose of the FTM, which was delayed by a month due to pandemic restrictions, is to provide taxpayers with an opportunity to suggest changes to and vote on Lincoln’s fiscal year 2022 budget.

Lincoln officials are proposing a 1.19 percent property tax increase in the 2021-22 budget, representing a levy increase from roughly $53.8 million to $54.5 million. An anticipated overall increase in property values, coupled with the proposed tax levy increase, will result in the following estimated rates:

• A property tax rate of $20.26 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for residential real estate (up from $20.14);

• $25.18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for commercial real estate (increased from $25.03);

• And $31.97 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for tangible personal property (up from $31.78).

According to a notice prepared by acting Town Administrator Brian Sullivan, the preliminary 2021-2022 motor vehicle levy includes taxes on motor vehicles at a reduced rate of $30 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That includes the exemption of up to $5,000 provided by the state’s motor vehicle excise tax phase-out legislation, compared to the current motor vehicle tax rate of $30.66 and a $4,000 exemption.

In a note to taxpayers, the Lincoln Budget Board conceded that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some concern in town regarding a dip in expected revenues. While town and school officials had to make some cuts, the Budget Board promised that no requested reductions would be made that would “jeopardize the education or safety of our children” or “reduce the municipal services that our taxpayers expect.”

The total proposed budget up for approval is $91,333,991, representing an increase of more than $4.8 million. That’s $23.3 million on the town side (a decrease of $426,121), and $59.5 million on the school side (an increase of $1.7 million).

The Budget Board is proposing a total of $280,398 in municipal capital resolutions, and school upgrades totaling $763,000.

The Budget Board message addresses the challenges associated with prioritizing capital projects. The town has made progress, members say, including parks with upgraded facilities and new school projects.

The board urged taxpayers to “sincerely take a hard look at the maintenance efforts and the funding thereof put in place for these properties after the construction is complete,” continuing that, “In many cases the maintenance is not being adequately funded, and therefore some of our monies are being exhausted on replacements instead of on maintenance.”

“The dollars and time not spent on maintenance will inevitably turn into thousands upon thousands of dollars of avoidable replacements of current assets,” the board argued.

The proposed municipal capital projects are as follows:

• Police vehicle computer replacements, $69,234; police dispatch computer upgrades, $19,759

• Repair fencing at town parks, $23,500; bleacher replacements, $29,200

• Carpet replacement at Town Hall, $15,000

• Hearthside maintenance grant for exterior molding painting and window restoration, $20,100

• Maville park sod, $68,605

• Chase Farm electrical work, $35,000

• Barney Pond dam repair, $175,000

Proposed school projects include:

• High school project addition, $30,000 (storage door for football equipment, maintenance shop door, additional electrical outlets in the fitness room, improving boiler room for maintenance truck access, fiber cabling to football field PA system, and auditorium lighting/sound monitoring station).

• High school athletic capital equipment, $44,500 (uniform storage closets, branded varsity full weight racks and benches, courtside runners, linear leg press and Olympic bench press, treadmills, kettlebells, alpha bar, squat bar, barbell set, plyo boxes, an AED package and a Pixellott camera).

• Technology capital equipment, $291,900 (LHS design tech lab replacement, Saylesville

classroom tech replacement, 540 new Chromebooks, network switches and miscellaneous

hardware).

• General school capital projects, $397,500 (asbestos abatement and rug removal, VCT tile installation, Northern sprinkler system and sod, Saylesville curbing and repaving, and repair and resurface LHS tennis courts).

The final category also includes district-wide funding for new field maintenance equipment and air purifiers.