By Matt Sheley, Town of Middletown

 The Town of Middletown wants to hear what you have to say about the proposed fiscal 2022 budget.

Over the next week plus, the town will be pushing out several informational videos about the proposed $75.9 million figure for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said the goal of the videos is to spur engagement in the budget process and promote transparency with the numbers.

To that end, the town has created a new page on its website where people can view the budget, videos and offer input on what they’d like to see. It can be accessed by clicking the “Middletown Shares” button on the main page of the town’s website MiddletownRI.com or at https://mdl.town/MiddletownSharesBudget online. To participate in the budget discussion, click https://mdl.town/BudgetDiscussion online. Just make sure you’re a registered user of the website before you begin.

“With everything we do, it’s all about transparency and engagement,” Brown said. “Every year, we’re looking for new ways to inform our residents and businesspeople about exactly what’s happening with the budget and why because it’s their money after all.”

The Town Council is slated to sit down Saturday morning starting at 8 from Town Hall to go over the proposed numbers in detail. Due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the public is not allowed in the building, but the session will be broadcast live via a Zoom webinar online. Here’s the link to view the all-day meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86877774139 online.

According to figures presented to the council Monday night, the proposed residential tax rate is expected to be $12.48 per $1,000 of assessed property value for fiscal 2022, should the proposed budget be adopted. On the commercial side, the proposed tax rate is expected to be $16.81 per $1,000 of assessed value. 

Numbers from the town’s tax department, the current normalized residential tax rate is $12.03 per $1,000 of assessed value compared to $16.24 per $1,000 of assessed commercial value. Those numbers have been adjusted due to the recent statistical revaluation of property in Middletown.

It means a house assessed at the mean in town of $550,720 could expect to pay $6,873

in taxes in fiscal 2022, if there are no adjustments to the proposed budget. That’s $248 more than the current bill for a similarly valued property, or a 3.6 percent increase. 

For a commercial property valued at the mean in town of $2,212,589 could expect to pay $37,194 in taxes is fiscal 2022, if there are no adjustments to the proposed budget. That’s $1,261 more than the current bill for a similarly valued property, or a 3.5 percent increase.

The proposed budget is about $791,000 more than the current fiscal 2021 budget. Reasons cited for the increases vary and focus on additional spending across the community. 

Among those include two new fire pumper trucks for Middletown Fire, beefed up enforcement of quality-of-life laws for Middletown Police, more public outreach through the Town Administrator’s department, additional needs for the schools brought on by COVID-19 along with other items outlined in the videos.

Public hearings where residents and businesspeople can ask questions and make comments on the proposed budget are slated for May 19 and 26, both at 6 p.m. through an online Zoom webinar. 

The council also has time on Monday, May 17 from 6-7 p.m. set aside to address the budget as well.

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