The governing body for Princeton approved a $62 million municipal budget Monday night that includes a tax levy of $33.2 million, a $1.2 million increase over 2015.
A large chunk of the budget, $10.1 million, is for debt service. The amount the town owes this year for borrowing money increased 2.5 percent over last year.
The municipal tax rate for 2016 is about 48 cents per $100 of assessed property value. A homeowner with a property assessed at the 2016 town average of $810,000 would pay about $3,900 in municipal property taxes for 2016.
Officials needed to cut about $150,000 for the budget. They couldn’t agree on cutting any programs or services to balance the budget. Mayor Liz Lempert said at the meeting that the finance committee and administration identified spending cuts that eliminated the need for another $150,000 tax levy increase. But Councilwoman Jo Butler said only two things were cut from the proposed budget. The town postponed the purchase of a new police car and a new hire for the town’s sewer operating committee, she said. The rest of the “cuts” came from changing projections for spending.
“We don’t need to spend money we thought we’d need to spend,” Councilman Patrick Simon said. “We also canceled some unexpended balances.”
Longtime Councilman Bernie Miller then said the town needs to manage its spending in the future.
“We’ve got to work hard moving forward on managing expenditures, finding ways to save money, and getting our bang for our buck,” Miller said as he and the rest of the council members voted to approve a tax increase for the second year in a row.