MOUNT VERNON — During Saturday’s annual Town Meeting, residents approved a spending plan for the 2021-2022 fiscal year with a less than 1% increase from the current budget.

The increase is roughly $40,000 more than the current $4.84 million budget, though town officials say precise budget numbers are currently unclear.

Last year the town set the mill rate to 17.5, which results in a tax bill of approximately $3,133 for a median-priced home worth $179,000. Town Treasurer Kerry Casey said town officials anticipate that this year’s mill rate will be close to the same.

She said town officials worked to hold the line when creating this year’s budget and changes primarily include additions to the public works department and an approximate 1.3% salary increase across the board.

“We don’t want to get behind on salaries,” Casey said. “Towns can be notorious for that, and then you’re hit with a bubble that can be really painful. That was the budget committee’s recommendation, and the selectmen went along with it.”

She said that while it is unclear how much will need to be raised through taxes this year, it will be a less than a 1% difference compared to last year.

In previous years all budget work was done via Excel, Casey said, which was tied to the town warrant and would display how the entire budget was impacted by changes. This year, however, she said that wasn’t done, and it was instead typed out. This created some confusion between the final budget and the town warrant.

Both Casey and Deputy Clerk Amanda Wheeler said the total projected revenue amount for this year is currently unclear.

Wheeler said residents failed to pass an item that asked if the clerk’s position could be appointed by the Board of Selectmen. That means the position will continue to be an elected one.

She said residents also opted not to move forward with the last item on the warrant, which would have increased the tax levy in the event revenue sharing and the homestead reimbursement result in the need for a higher amount. Wheeler said they determined this item was not needed.

Between 50 and 60 residents attended the meeting, which she said lasted between two and a half to three hours, adding that residents expressed fairly unanimous approval with all other items on the warrant.


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