The Annual City Election is right around the corner. The actual election day is Tuesday, March 1 with polls open at city hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting is permitted as always.
Continuing with recent practice, the annual report will not be delivered to every home. It will be available in hard copy at city hall, the library, the senior center, and the schools. It will also be available online in searchable PDF form at the city’s website www.montpelier-vt.org
The following major factors influenced the budget.
- Past demand for infrastructure and equipment due to COVID reductions.
- The presence of $2.2 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and a one-time $430,000 infrastructure reserve.
- Clear direction from city council about priorities.
- Implementation of collective bargaining and personnel plan adjustments.
- Rebounding (but not fully recovered) revenue sources.
- Higher inflation rate than in recent years, as documented through the Consumer Price Index (7.0%) and Social Security (5.9%).
Property Tax Impact:
- When combined with the School Tax rate, the total property tax increase is 3.3 cents (1.1%), which is the lowest tax rate change since 2016. This budget requires an 8.06 cent (6.8%) increase in the municipal portion of the property tax rate. For the average residential property, the total tax rate represents an increase of $77 on the tax bill.
- The net result of revenues and expenses is that $10,656,060 in property tax revenues are required for the municipal portion (non-school) of the budget. This is an increase of $650,019 (6.5%) from FY22.
- For tax rate planning purposes, the budget includes independent ballot items for the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, and Central Vermont Public Safety Authority (Montpelier share). The Water/Sewer/CSO Benefit charges will remain at the present level. The School Budget and Education Tax rates are projected to decrease (− 3.2%). The grand list growth was assumed to be level, no change, and therefore no additional property tax revenue raising capacity.
- FY23 General Fund Budget totals $16,139,420, which is an increase of $1,432,825 (9.7%) from the comparable FY22 spending plan.
- FY23 General Fund non-tax revenues total $4,990,065, which is an increase of $723,482 (17.0%) from FY22 non-tax revenues.
- Revenues from the state of Vermont such as Highway Aid and Grand List Maintenance funding have been assumed to remain at their present funding levels. Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) revenue was adjusted up by $381,129 to reflect actual FY22 receipts. Local Rooms, Meals, and Alcohol tax revenues were adjusted up by $50,000 to reflect the current revenue trend from local restaurants and hotels.
- Grand list value was held the same as the FY22 level. With the projected grand list, $87,934 represents 1 cent on the tax rate, while approximately $100,000 represents 1% on the tax rate.
The city council identified key policy priorities and initiatives in the strategic planning process. The budget is designed to implement that plan. Full details on the strategic plan, including quarterly progress reports, can be found on the city’s website.
Improve Community Prosperity:
Provide Responsible and Engaged Government
- $60,000 for the Downtown Improvement District.
- Montpelier Alive is at $32,600, with $4,500 for July 3 and other celebrations.
- Economic Development at $50,000 ($100,000 in FY21, $0 in FY22).
- Homelessness Task Force remains at $45,000.
- Montpelier Community Fund (outside agencies) remains at $134,050.
- Public Arts Commission is at $10,000 (20,000 in FY21, $0 in FY22).
- Feasibility for Childcare program is included in Elks Club property bond project.
- Additional outdoor recreation opportunities are included.
Create More Housing:
- Fully staffed city departments with services restored.
- Website upgrade $25,000.
- Capital Area Neighborhood (CAN) services at $10,000 (down from $20,000 in FY22).
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements for accessibility at $130,000.
- Social Equity consultant remains at $10,000.
- Stipends for committee volunteers to encourage broader diversity of participation is included at $30,000.
- Monthly Montpelier Bridge article.
- Public Communications/Data/Transparency improvements at $75,000 from ARPA.
Practice Good Environmental Stewardship
- Housing Trust Fund is fully funded at $110,000, with an additional $60,000 in ARPA restoring last year’s cuts.
- Proposed $2 million bond for Elks Club property provides opportunity for housing.
Improve Public Health and Safety
- Phase 2 Wastewater Plant upgrade — $16.8 million bond.
- Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee (MEAC) remains at $5,000.
- Implementation of the city’s Net Zero Energy plan at $100,000.
- The GMT MyRide system remains at $40,000.
- Conversion of DPW oil heating system to wood pellets — $250,000 in infrastructure bond.
- Completion of River Confluence Park as planned in the Transit Center project — $600,000 in infrastructure bond.
- Replace existing downtown street lights with LED lights — $250,000 in infrastructure bond.
- Funds to explore river dam removal — $34,000 in ARPA.
- Electric vehicle charging station at DPW for fleet conversion — $50,000 in ARPA.
Build/Maintain Sustainable Infrastructure
- Expansion of social worker resources.
- Body-worn cameras.
- Modernized dispatch consoles.
- Crisis intervention training (CIT).
- Homelessness resources including public bathrooms, $425,000 in ARPA.
- Capital funding is emphasized this year with $2,025,500 for infrastructure projects including work delayed during the last two years. This includes $1,575,500 for roads, sidewalks, bridges, and retaining walls and $450,000 in water/sewer improvements. Road funding reaches level needed to reach targeted Pavement Condition Index.
- $1,050,548 for equipment including items delayed during the last two years.
- $7.2 million bond for complete reconstruction of East State Street including water/sewer.
- $165.000 for Marvin Street slope repair in infrastructure bond.
- In addition to Capital Improvement Plan, ARPA, and one-time Capital Fund reserve money, the city is proposing four bonds for infrastructure investment, which are included in the budget descriptions above.
The city council approved the strategic plan in October. In October and November, the council reviewed financial projections and provided policy direction. A full outline of the city manager’s proposed budget
was published in the December 15 edition of the Bridge with the proposed bonds outlined on January 12. The city council conducted a budget workshop on December 15, and a budget discussion on December 22. Public hearings were held on January 12 and 20. An informational meeting on the budget and bonds will be held on February 23.
Thank you for your interest in Montpelier City Government. Please vote on March 1 or before. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-223-9502 with questions or concerns. All the above referenced documents, including the budget, the annual report, and the ballot items, are available in their entirety at www.montpelier-vt.org.
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