The September meeting of the Bennington City Council will feature two important items for the coming year:
2020-2021 Budget: We'll hold a public hearing regarding the city's budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts October 1. Bennington's budget covers police, streets, parks, and the library and relies primarily on property tax and sales tax revenue. As proposed, the new budget:
- Adds a fourth full-time police officer, providing nearly round-the-clock coverage, and a police cruiser.
- Retains a full-time streets and parks employee in addition to the director; this position has been left open during the pandemic.
- Leaves the city's share of the property tax rate unchanged. Total property tax revenue increases, as a result of both new home construction and increased valuations.
- Includes ASIP fee revenue for the first time. This is a small but growing source of support provided by the builders of homes outside of Bennington's city limits. It is designated for streets.
- Estimates that sales tax revenue will be similar to this year. During the pandemic, Bennington's sales tax has remained strong, probably a result of both buying local and more online shopping (some online sales tax is remitted to cities).
At Monday evening's budget hearing, you are welcome to comment on these issues or any other in the city's budget.
One and Six Year Street Plan: Along with the budget, the Council will consider Bennington's One and Six Year Street Plan, a tool for prioritizing street repairs and improvements. You can see the full list of projects on page 33 of this document. As the 156th Street project (thankfully) wraps up in 2021, the city will be able to return to other street and road priorities.
The full agenda and all of the supporting documents are available here. The meeting begins at 6:30 in the city offices next to the library. I hope to see you there!