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Darien RTM Approves $125.69 Million Spending Plan

Darien Representative Town Meeting member Bruce Orr, chairman of the RTM's Finance & Budget Committee, during Monday night's meeting. The RTM set next year's spending plan at $125.69 million and the mill rate at 13.17 mills.
Darien Representative Town Meeting member Bruce Orr, chairman of the RTM's Finance & Budget Committee, during Monday night's meeting. The RTM set next year's spending plan at $125.69 million and the mill rate at 13.17 mills. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch

DARIEN, Conn. – Property taxes for Darien residents will rise nearly 4 percent next year under the new $125.69 million spending plan for 2013-14 that was overwhelmingly approved by the Representative Town Meeting on Monday.

The town’s mill rate – the rate at which property taxes are calculated – will rise to 13.17 mills as a result of the new plan, up from the current rate of 12.68 mills.

Education spending, the largest single expenditure, will rise a couple of million dollars next year to $83.22 million. That will include funding for six new school monitor positions, a move that arose after the deadly Sandy Hook shooting in Newton.

Bruce Orr, chairman of the RTM’s Finance & Budget Committee, said the budget season, while always eventful, ran smoothly this year.

“The bias our officials is toward a fiscally conservative budget, while maintaining a high level of service,” said Orr.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson agreed. “Approximately $2.2 million in spending requests were cut across all departments in the new budget, but we were able to retain core services.”

She added, “There are no new service requests in this budget.”

At $125.69 million, the spending plan is about $5.4 million higher than the current fiscal year's budget. The increase largely driven by rises in health care, benefits and salary costs for town employees.

For the average Darien homeowner, whose house is assessed at $1 million (which is 70 percent of the $1.4 million the home is valued at), a 13.17 mill rate represents about a $490 increase in taxes next year to $13,170, according to Finance Director Kathleen Clarke Buch. The new mill rate equates to $13.17 per $1,000 of assessed (the 70 percent figure) value.

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