Manchester aldermen override city tax cap, 2015 budget up 3.99 percent
The vote came at a special meeting Tuesday evening, the deadline for the aldermen to complete a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The vote was 12-2; at least 10 votes were required to override the tax cap, which would have restricted the budget increase to 2.13 percent.
The budget will also be bolstered by increased estimates for total property valuation; additional revenue from vehicle registrations; and new revenue from increased parking enforcement hours and other fee hikes approved by the aldermen.
“We were put in a position where we had no choice but to override the tax cap. But we as a board can’t be expected to do this next year,”
she said. “There’s got to be a recognition that we need to make significant changes to health insurance, workers’ compensation and to Yarger-Decker.”
The final vote Tuesday came after two recesses, during which the mayor and a group of aldermen met behind closed doors to make modifications to the budget.
Following the break, Gatsas said he could support the budget in part because it was under a 4 percent increase.
The two no votes came from Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann and Alderman-At-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur, who presented their own budget Tuesday that was designed to stay under the tax cap. It was rejected 12-2.
Levasseur said their budget made hard choices because they didn’t regard overriding the tax cap as an option.
“It comes down to whether you believe in the tax cap,” he said. “If you believe in it, you stay within it.”
“We build new fire stations, new police stations, a new highway department, and the place people come to that’s theirs, City Hall, we don’t do anything to since 1998,” Gatsas said.
Alderman-At-Large Dan O’Neil said, “I think if we did a poll of the citizens, carpeting City Hall or road repairs, I think we know what they’ll say. They’re not interested in carpeting at City Hall.”
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