New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

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Taxes Anger Public

As New Britain residents received tax bills this past week, many became upset at the increases found in their bills. The mill rate rose from 36.63 to 44.12.

“For my own vehicles, last years taxes were based on higher values than this year by $1,600. An increase of 7.49 mils equates to about $25-30 more this year than last for me. As for housing taxes, the reduced assessments might actually be offset by the increased mill rate. This is a tax increase, no matter how you look at it. Exactly how can any politician say it’s not? Mill rate goes up, that’s a tax increase,” said Edward Grafe, resident. “A local government who thinks we can’t do math is appalling. Just admit it, there is a tax increase.”

In tax bills to residents Mayor Tim O’Brien claimed property taxes did not rise and made a campaign promise that taxes would not rise.

“How can you look up to a ‘Mayor’ when he lied about no tax increase,” said Alan Parlowe.

Many said their taxes increased significantly.

“The real estate taxes on my office increased by over $1,700 this year,’ said Attorney Ken Carifa. “ It appears that this city reassessment shifted taxes to small business property owners. That makes New Britain a less attractive place to locate a professional office. And homeowners did not necessarily get a break; the real estate taxes on my home also increased by about $300.”

Other residents agreed.

“There is now less incentive to move here, expand here or purchase more equipment. Through their policies Pres. Obama and Gov. Malloy are also doing their very best to discourage small businesses from hiring more employees,” said Mark Bernacki, who ran for Mayor against O’Brien two years ago. “Because Connecticut has so beat down large manufacturers over the last 20 years, small business (businesses with 20 or less employees) accounts for 75 percent of all jobs. Connecticut is the only state whose economy shrank over the last 2 years.”

Some residents have contemplated moving.

“Taxes on my home went up almost $600. Add to that another $200 in car taxes and it’s almost time to leave this city,” said Former Mayor Timothy Stewart. “Pretty sad when a Mayor contemplates leaving the city he ran for eight years! Gross mismanagement of the city’s finances will only make the situation worse in the coming years.”

Others were not as upset about the rise in taxes, but in the way they were used.

“I do not mind paying taxes, as much as I do mind how they get spent. I do not want my local tax dollars paying consultants who know less about economic development than I do, for community organizer’s salaries and benefits, when the city scratches for the best community organizing tool there is: Fourth of July fireworks!,” said Daniel Salerno. “Which by the way we need to create a system whereby we charge for parking, pass around donation buckets, set up booths at the park, on the entry ways to the city, $5 a carload, whatever. 30,000 people show up and most are from out of town! Further brings me to the raw deal this administration cut with Newington, payment of taxes for the Costco/Stanley project? How much? How long? And Newington residents pay resident fees for golf? How long? That was so insane. Taxes are an issue, revenue is the issue, and it is not being well thought out.”

Taxes are due Aug. 1.