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Budget still up in the air for Coventry

May 6, 2014

COVENTRY — The final public hearing for anyone’s questions to be answered was held Monday night at the town hall annex with an average turnout.

Coventry Town Manager Tom Hoover opened the meeting by explaining the state of the town’s finances.
If the town approves the school’s request of $1,582,077, along with the town’s increase of 1.96 percent ($1,265,162) that total ($2,847,239) would put the town over the four percent levy at 4.41 percent.

Hoover recommends not increasing the school’s budget because of the levy.

During previous budget meetings he expressed the need for a tax increase in town.
According to a report by Hoover, the tax increase is needed to pay state mandated pension contributions to assist the town’s unfunded liability.

If there is no increase, $1.2 million would have to be reduced from the budget, which would affect various departments throughout town.
According to his report, if the budget saw no tax increase next year “there would be pain all around.”
Hoover also stated in the report that the town look at the amount of revenue lost from freezing taxes for elderly and disabled citizens. Currently, the town loses approximately $1.1 million in tax revenue each year and Hoover considered eliminating the exemption in certain cases.

“I believe the income-based exemption, which affects all parties whose household income is less than $50,000, should not be affected by any review by the administration or this Town Council,” he stated. “However, this remaining $712,000 providing tax freezes for the elderly and the disabled is currently not income-based.”
The tax freeze for the elderly and disabled residents is provided to individuals regardless of their income and “obviously this tax freeze is needed by many elderly and disabled individuals, however I believe a case can be made as to not providing this freeze for those of substantial means.”
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