The Groton Town Council will hold a discussion next weekend to hear residents’ thoughts and suggestions about how they should handle the upcoming budget process.
The meeting on the budget will be held from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Oct. 13 in the Groton Senior Center.
“The Council is hopeful the session will help to alleviate a tone of criticism and complaint and instead create an open dialogue concerning the difficult and complex issues facing the Town of Groton,” said a press release from the town manager’s office.
The release said councilors want to talk to residents about the 2014 fiscal year budget so they have a better understanding of the responsibilities and limitations the town faces.
The Council approved a tax rate of 20.22 mills this past year, an increase of 7 percent over the current mill rate of 18.89 mills.
The increase came after Representative Town Meeting approved a general fund budget of $120.89 million for the coming fiscal year, a 2 percent increase from the previous year’s spending.
The budget process typically begins in the winter, with town staff starting work in November and the town manager proposing a budget to the council in March. The council then reviews the budget, makes cuts or additions, and forwards the document to Representative Town Meeting.
The largest part of the budget is education spending. Last year, Representative Town Meeting approved a $72.64 million budget for the public schools, a zero percent increase over the current fiscal year.
The town portion of the budget declined. The budget for Groton Long Point, the capital reserve, outside agencies and some other areas rose. Despite the modest overall increase, Groton's spending plan still required a mill rate increase because federal grants, revenue from investments and other monies declined.