My American Dream May Be Dying in Tiverton
A bout of cynicism kept me from last night’s town council meeting. Here’s one of the revelations that I missed (emphasis added):
Also last night, the council received a warning from its auditor that the town’s rainy day fund is too low.
Standing at about $1.2 million for the fiscal year that ended last June, the fund represents a reserve of only 4 to 5 percent of budgeted expenses, far less than the 10 to 15 percent fund balance that bonding agencies look for when they rate municipal bonds, according to Paul Dansereau.
Dansereau indicated that the town fund is likely to shrink even further before it gets and bigger, since the current budget relies on $900,000 from the surplus to offset taxes.
The town is planning to discontinue the practice of using the surplus to keep down the tax rate in the budget year beginning July 1.
Dansereau, of the accounting firm of Parmelee, Poirier, and Associates, of Warwick, also said the School Department had a $14,000 deficit in its unrestricted fund last June 30, a shortfall that must be made up.
I don’t know whether the new high-tax practice was included in the former town administrator’s expectation of a 12% property tax hike, but either way, it looks like the council is set to push my monthly mortgage payment past the limit that we can afford. So much for moving to Tiverton as one of the last towns in the area able to sustain a budding family’s dream of homeownership.
See, when families find themselves facing tightening budgets, they cut back. They dip into reserves. When a municipal government finds itself unable to sustain its multimillion-dollar “rainy day fund” during an economic storm, it opts to discontinue the heroic practice of limiting tax inflation (which apparently happens as a matter of nature, not by explicit action by a limited group of elected officials). Thanks for holding the line, guys. I know those wealthy enough to keep their homes will appreciate the healthy bond rating.
Anybody got a house that they’d like to rent at a discount to a nice young family headed by carpenter? Willing to move out of state…