Proposed Glocester budget will lower tax rates, increase spending by $1.2 million

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GLOCESTER – The Glocester Town Council has moved forward a town budget totaling $34,181,062, which includes municipal services and capital expenses, Glocester School Department operating and capital expenses, Glocester’s share of the Foster/Glocester Regional operating and capital expenses, and a levy of property tax of not less than $25,095,097 or more than $26,098,900.

The proposed fiscal plan amounts to a roughly $1.2 million increase in spending from last year, or 3.54 percent.

But for some residents, growth in town, as well as an increased contribution from one large taxpayer, could provide some tax relief, as many individual contributions are on track to decrease. 

If approved by voters, the proposal would result in a property tax rate of $13.86 per $1,000 of assessed value for residential real estate for the upcoming fiscal year, down from the current rate of $14.25. Commercial property would be at $16.63 per $1,000, compared to last year’s $17.08, and tangible property would remain the same at $28.50 per $1,000.

Prior to approving their budget proposal, the council addressed a number of concerns on a previous version of the plan presented at a public hearing last month, removing a some items and level funding others, as well as adding to a few areas, including monies for paving town roads. When all was said and done, the board had cut $93,527 from the original $34,274,589 budget discussed in April.

Decreases were made in a variety of areas, including tax assessor’s office, financial director’s department, the treasurer’s office, the Building/Zoning official salaries, the Glocester Heritage Society/Historic Cemeteries, consultant services, grant matching funds and the senior center.

All department heads would still receive a 4 percent increase in wages under the plan. A sum of $25,000, meanwhile, was added to the revaluation/reserve account for potential services in the upcoming fiscal year. The Recreation Department was increased by $2,000 to help address the needs for summer programs and other expenses. The Department of Public Works Maintenance Division was increased by $10,000 to cover projected gasoline costs.

Some areas posed challenges for councilors, including the Department of Public Works. DPW Director Gary Treml explained that if monies were not added to the DPW account, potholes and other road repairs would be very limited. As a result, the council agreed to remove $100,000 from an account dedicated to repairing Willie Woodhead and Cooper Road with American Rescue Plan Act funds. Funding for rehabilitation of the two roadways was slated to come with a $131,000 state match, but only under the condition that the funds were to be used for those two projects. Councilors noted that removing the $100,000 of town monies from that state account agreement would allow the town to use the money for any road repairs needed in the upcoming year.

“We need to de-obligate those funds so we can use them for something else,” said Councilor Jonathan Burlingame. “We can’t go on having no money for paving or fixing stuff.”

Without those funds, there would be very little money left for paving, said Councilor Walter Steere.

“There’s very little money left for paving if something else comes up,” he said.

Council Vice President Stephen Arnold noted that the amounts dedicated to the two projects couldn’t just be reduced. It was all or nothing, and removing the $100,000 would allow the town to use those funds as needed elsewhere.

“I like the idea of having the flexibility,” said Arnold.

That doesn’t mean those projects will necessarily be eliminated, he added. It will just allow the town to use the funds at councilors’ discretion.

“It gives you that flexibility,” explained Treml. “If something happens (elsewhere), you have money in the bank. You’re not locked into those.”

It was a small but needed move in an overall budget Arnold later told NRI NOW he’s excited to be able to offer to voters this year, thanks to both new development in town and a business that will contribute a larger share.

After years on a PILOT agreement, the FM Global’s assets were evaluated by a professional appraiser last year, and the town’s largest business will see an increased contribution in 2025, helping to offset the burden on other Glocester taxpayers.

Also on the referendum for May 21 are three other questions: an appropriation of $88,349 from surplus for capital expenses, an appropriation of $30,000 from surplus funds for grant matching funds, and an appropriation of $100,000 from surplus for operational expenses for Glocester Public Schools. None of those questions increase the amount to be raised by taxes, but require voter approval, according to the Town Charter.

Voting on the referendum will take place on Tuesday, May 21 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Glocester Senior Center, 1210 Putnam Pike, Chepachet.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I would ask for a detailed explanation from each department head who went over budget. There should be a consequence for blowing a budget. Like no increase in salary. I agree with above comment that bad behavior should not be rewarded . My opinion. Ted Burlingame

  2. When ALL Glocester departments WENT OVERBUDGET last year, why should taxpayers pay these department heads a 4% pay raise? Isn’t that rewarding bad behavior?

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