Spencer approves budget, 5.5-cent tax increase

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 15, 2024

SPENCER — Amid little fanfare, the Spencer Board of Aldermen approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Tuesday at town hall. The budget carries with it a 5.5-cent property tax increase.

The current property tax rate is 55 cents per $100 valuation. The new rate will be 60.5 cents per $100 valuation. 

The board approved the budget’s passage as part of the consent agenda. It met unanimous approval, although Alderman Rashid Muhammad was not present to vote.

So what will a 5.5-cent increase cost?

The average assessed value of homes in Spencer is $187,392, but for purposes of round math, a $200,000 home will be used. 

On a $200,000 home, the new rate will cost $1,210 per year in property taxes. Previously, that same house would have paid $1,100 per year in property taxes. The difference is $110. 

Spencer expects revenue to be $5,339,277 with $2,309,714 coming from property taxes.

During the preceding months and meetings, Spencer officials discussed various ways to reduce the increased rate, which was originally recommended at 62 cents per $100 valuation. A significant portion of increased revenue is being designated for the Spencer Fire Department, as the agency looks to expand its personnel and equipment in a proactive measure to prepare the town for anticipated growth rates expected in the next few years. 

In their efforts to cut elsewhere, Spencer officials opted to remove a $20,000 school safety grant from the books. Additionally, $2,000 was removed from the $5,000 budget for the Jefferson Street Park project. The Community Appearance Commission and Historic Preservation Grant programs’ budgets were cut by 25 percent each to $7,500, resulting in $5,000 saved.

Another change town officials agreed to during deliberations was reducing a position for a future parks and recreation coordinator from six months to three months. The position is being created to put a full-time employee into a role where they are organizing and coordinating community events using Spencer’s various parks and public spaces.

Williams indicated that expanding those offerings is a vision of his administration as it aims to enhance the quality of life and opportunities for social engagement within the town. 

Two residents spoke up during a meeting last week where the budget was discussed. On Tuesday, Alderman Andrew Howe read a letter he had received from a resident. 

In the letter, the resident said, “I am concerned with this board’s attempt to budget for the community they want to have and while disenfranchising members of the existing community.”