April 28, 2014/Press Releases

REALITY CHECK: Boughton Budget Statement Rings Hollow; Danbury Taxes & Fees Keep Going Up

Hartford, CT – Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo released the following statement in response to Mark Boughton’s press release today:

“Mark Boughton’s press release is laughable at best given that he just proposed raising taxes and fees on Danbury residents for the tenth time. Boughton says in his release, ‘We need tax relief,’ so why doesn’t he put his money where his mouth is and cut taxes in Danbury? The answer is he couldn’t and he can’t. Mark Boughton can make outrageous promises on taxes he can’t keep and criticize the tough decisions of others, but he can’t even live up to his own standards at home where he continues to raise taxes.  I’d call that a pretty big gimmick if not just flat out dishonest.”


April 2014: Boughton Proposed 3 Percent Tax Increase To Pay For $8.4 Million In Increased Spending. “City residents will get a chance to speak their minds about a tax increase of nearly 3 percent during a public hearing Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 155 Deer Hill Ave., on the proposed 2014-15 budget. The tax increase would come from about $8.4 million in additional spending, including for the city’s school system, pension costs, capital improvements and contractual obligations. The total budget of $235.7 million was proposed by Mayor Mark Boughton earlier this month. The bulk of the increase, $3.5 million, would help pay for staffing and equipment for a new middle school scheduled to open this fall.” [News Times, 4/15/14]

Headline: “Boughton Proposes 4.5% Budget Hike.” The News-Times reported in April 2004 that, “Taxes on a $300,000 house would increase by $100 a year under Mayor Mark Boughton’s proposed $161 million budget. Payments from the state and federal governments, a decline in the personal property grand list, and higher costs for benefits caused the 4.5 percent increase in the proposed budget, Boughton said… Boughton has proposed cost-cutting programs, as well as ways to generate more money, including an increase in the city tax on gasoline sold at Danbury Municipal Airport. That fee would rise from a nickel per gallon today to 20 cents after July 1… Boughton proposed a new Office of Consumer Protection with two part-time workers, whose salaries would be paid by fees charged for testing scales and pumps at gas stations and grocery stores. This work was done by the state in the past.” [News-Times, 4/7/04]

Boughton’s “Status Quo” Budget Proposal Raised Taxes Up to 6%, Increased Spending by 5.7%. The News-Times reported in April 2008 that, “Mayor Mark Boughton presented a city budget with an increase of about 5.7 percent Monday and called for a variety of cost-saving measures, including possible staff reductions. Boughton gave the Common Council a plan that would increase total spending from about $191 million to approximately $202 million, but would reduce the mill rate about 4 percent, from the current 22.2 to 21.35 mills. The spending plan, if approved, could still mean a tax increase of between zero and six percent for residential homeowners, depending on the results of their revaluation, which is being phased in over the next four years. Boughton said the ‘status quo’ budget maintains city services and programs at current levels, while incorporating increases in utility costs and contractual obligations for personnel. ‘This is a pretty good nuts and bolts budget that maintains our services,’ he said before appointing a number of subcommittees to begin reviewing the plan.” [News-Times, 4/7/08]

Boughton Proposed Budget That Increased Taxes by 1%, Tapped Into Reserve Account. The News-Times reported in April 2009 that, “Mayor Mark Boughton proposed a city budget Tuesday that calls for a slight tax increase — about one percent — and relatively flat spending over the current year… The proposed budget calls for reducing city spending by about $25,000 — from $202,295,259 to $202,270,205. Revenue, meanwhile, is expected to decrease by about $1 million, to $197.5 million, during the 2009-10 budget year, which begins July 1… Boughton has proposed using about $4 million from the city’s fund balance to make up the discrepancy… Despite taping into the city’s reserves, Boughton said, the fund balance will still be a healthy 8.6 percent of expenditures… The mayor said while the proposed spending involves almost no increase, the city’s grand list declined by about $8.4 million — resulting in the required tax increase of 0.31 mills — or about one percent. That means a tax bill of $5,000 this year will be $5,050 next year.” [News-Times, 4/8/09]

Boughton Proposed Budget with a “Gentle” 3% Tax Increase, $6.6 Million Increase in Spending. The News-Times reported in April 2011 that, “Mayor Mark Boughton on Tuesday night proposed a city budget that calls for a ‘gentle’ 3 percent tax increase while maintaining city services with no layoffs. The budget he presented to the City Council at its meeting Tuesday increases spending by about $6.6 million, for a total of nearly $216 million. Many city departments would receive the same or less money than in previous years. The Board of Education, which sought a $4.2 million increase, took one of the biggest hits. Boughton recommended trimming $3.2 million from the request, leaving just $1 million over current spending… While the budget reflects a reduction in general government spending of about $160,000, most of the increases come from pension obligations and debt service.” [News-Times, 4/6/11]

Boughton Proposed Budget with a 3.5% Tax Hike, $4.38 Million Increase in Spending. The News-Times reported in April 2012 that, “Mayor Mark Boughton unveiled a proposed $220 million budget before the City Council on Tuesday night that calls for a nearly 3.5 percent tax increase in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The total spending package represents a $4.38 million increase over the current fiscal year. That increase would include $1.8 million more for the city’s pension payments, for a total payment of $9.5 million into the fund.” [News-Times, 4/3/12]

Boughton Proposed a $7.25 Million Increase in Spending, 19% Increase in the Mill Rate. The News-Times reported in April 2013 that, “Local officials say the majority of city homeowners aren’t going pay more in taxes in the coming fiscal year despite a proposed $7.25 million hike in spending. Mayor Mark Boughton presented his budget package before the City Council on Thursday, calling for a 3.3 percent increase and a total spending package of $227 million. The increased spending would come from hikes in capital improvement costs, health insurance increases and an additional $2.5 million for the city’s school system. While the proposed mill rate may climb by as much as 19 percent as a result of last year’s property revaluation, most homeowners would not see that level of increases in their tax bills, he said.” [News-Times, 4/4/13]

Boughton Proposed Increasing Fees and Fines, Raising Water Bills by 32% and Sewer Bills by 18%. The News-Times reported in April 2004 that, “In an effort to drum up money for the city budget, Mayor Mark Boughton has proposed several measures to the Common Council that, if passed, would increase or create fees for a handful of city services. ’In order to diversify revenue streams, we’ve looked at sources other than taxes,’ Boughton said Tuesday. Two proposals would raise the average sewer bill by 18 percent and water bills by 32 percent, said city finance officials… Under one of the revenue generating proposals, the fire marshal’s office would create $50 to $100 fees for annual inspections of child care centers, nursing homes and businesses with liquor permits, among others. Annual inspections of three-family homes would cost $25 each. A proposed $150 fine for owners of apartments in violation of zoning rules is aimed at halting the tide of over-crowded apartments in the city, said Boughton… The fire marshal’s office and engineering division conduct mandatory reviews of proposed building projects, and new fees would be created for those… Of the site review fees, Boughton said, ‘if you don’t build million-dollar buildings, you won’t be affected by it.’ ‘These ordinances generate a significant amount of tax revenue that we don’t have to get from taxpayers,’ said Boughton.” [News-Times, 4/21/04]

Headline: “Danbury Fines On the Rise.” The News-Times reported in July 2008 that, “The Common Council is doubling the penalties for everything from blocking a driveway with your car to parking next to a fire hydrant… The fines, some of which were approved by the Common Council last month and will come into effect during the next 60 to 90 days, raise the dollar amount from $50 to $100 for a slew of violations. The Common Council is also clarifying local law, saying that it a fine for an existing violation in the code book does not mention a fine amount, the city may fine residents up to $250… Mayor Mark Boughton said the fines have not been updated in years. ‘Part of the increase is a deterrent factor, but mostly it is a recognition the fines have not been increased in a long time,’ Boughton said.” [News-Times, 7/21/08]

Previewing His Budget Proposal, Boughton Said It Would Include a “’Gentle’ Increase in Water and Sewer Rates for City Residents.” The News-Times reported in April 2010 that, “While he would only provide limited details in advance of his presentation, Boughton said there will be a ‘gentle’ increase in water and sewer rates for city residents, a tax freeze for seniors who qualify, and the Board of Education probably isn’t going to get all it asked for in 2010-11… Boughton said his budget proposal Tuesday will include a reasonable increase in the water and sewer rates charged to city residents as a result of increased costs. The last time the rates were increased, he said, was about three years ago. ‘Even after gentle increases are adopted, we will still have the lowest sewer and water rates in the state,’ Boughton said.” [News-Times, 4/6/10]

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