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Hopkinton budget vote today

June 14, 2011

HOPKINTON -- The fate of the proposed $24.07 million budget for fiscal year 2011-12 rests on the hands of the taxpayers who turn out to the poll today.

The all-day referendum on the spending plan runs from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. within the meeting room of Town Hall, which is located at 1 Town House Road in Hopkinton.

A large chunk of the budget, $18.04 million to be exact, has already been approved as it represents the town's contribution to the Chariho Regional School District. Compared to the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the town's payment to the school was a decrease of 0.3 percent.

But when the municipal budget of $6.03 million is added, the overall budget is a 1.8 percent increase over the current year's budget of $23.65 million. And the municipal budget is actually an 8.6 percent increase over the current year's amount of $5.55 million.

One of the bigger causes for the municipal increase resides in the general government fund, which jumped up 33.5 percent, or by $207,561.

That increase is attributed to the town putting aside funds for capitol improvements, Town Treasurer Laura Kenyon said. Those improvements include work planned for the town roads, the renovations and consolidation project for the Town Hall offices, purchasing new police cars, and general maintenance, she added.

Kenyon also provided the estimated new tax rates should the proposed budget pass next Tuesday. The motor vehicle tax stays frozen at $21.18 per $1,000 while the real estate tax increases from $15.69 per $1,000 to $19.36 per $1,000 assessed value.

While this might seem like a huge increase it's an overall jump of $3.67 per $1,000 Kenyon said that the average taxpayer should receive a property tax bill similar to the one he or she received this fiscal year. The tax levy for the proposed budget only increased by about $24,000, she said.

The cause of the property tax increase stems from a revaluation of all the properties in town that caused many of the values to drop. But, as she said, the tax bills for most homeowners should remain the same.

Kenyon broke it down as follows. A homeowner with a property valued at $300,000 paid around $4,700 this fiscal year. But the property's value then dropped to $240,000 with the revaluation and, under the new tax rate of $19.36, would end up paying $4,650 if the new budget passes.

“It's pretty much the same," Kenyon said. "The tax bill should be about the same as it was, if you are the average tax payer. Each individual bill will differ, but on average it's the same.”

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