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06/01/2022 08:00 AM

Some Financially Savvy Folks

Not much good news is coming out of Hartford or Washington, D.C. these days. That’s why it’s refreshing to learn that many, although not all, Westbrook taxpayers may actually catch a break on their property tax bills this year, news that may come as a welcome surprise.

After Westbrook’s voters blessed next year’s spending plans, the Board of Finance put the finishing touches on a 4.24 mill decrease in the mill rate. Yes, a decrease; not a mistake. Before you run for a calculator and that letter that came last November with your new assessment, you should know that many of us who already did the math discovered a smaller tax bill. Go figure.

How did that happen? Lots of reasons, but never a look a gift horse in the mouth, as the saying goes. Exploding real estate values, inflation, and revaluation resulted in historic 22 percent growth in Westbrook’s Grand List. That means the cost of local government gets cut from a bigger pie. But we’re not done yet.

Washington politicians sent a one-shot infusion of federal stimulus money to Connecticut that filtered down to the town’s coffers. The right-thinking folks on the finance board wisely chose to earmark this found money on important stuff, like enhancing public safety, fixing leaking roofs on public buildings, and revisiting long-deferred capital projects. Then they found a way to trim 4 ¼ mills off the mill rate.

When your readers pay their tax bill next month, they should know that the tab might have been much more painful save for some financially savvy folks on the finance board. Nowadays, its called a shout-out; back in my day it was an atta-boy. Call it what you will, but this year, for many of us, thanks are due to the Westbrook Board of Finance for a job well done.

Paul Beaulieu