Essex fixes thousand rate, up 2.8%
By Elizabeth Reinhart / Zip06.com • 06/22/2021 1:37 PM EST
The Essex Finance Council (BOF) unanimously adopted a thousandth rate of 22.43 for the 2021-22 fiscal year, at its special meeting on June 10. The thousandth rate is an increase of 0.62 thousandth, or 2.8 percent, from the current thousandth rate of 21.81.
The FRO will use $ 290,794 of the unrestricted funds, or the fund balance, to offset what could have been a potentially larger increase in the thousandth rate.
The city’s fund balance now stands at 16.4% of the city’s current budget, according to Tracey Celentano, Essex’s chief financial officer, by phone after the meeting.
Asked about the impact of the reduction, Celentano said that “it depends on the end of this year, but we should still be in the 15% range”.
She added that a rough estimate, after the reduction, would be a fund balance at about 15.44 percent of the budget. This is in line with the 5 to 15 percent recommended for a government’s unallocated fund balance by the National Association of Government Financial Officers.
At the meeting, Celentano provided the FRO with the most recent financial information for the city. She said overall tax revenue was comparable to other years, at about $ 23.5 million, or 100.51 percent, as of May. Local revenues in the form of court fees and transportation taxes were also high and, according to general trends, forecast revenues were increased to $ 353,000 at year end.
“What really makes the strength of this year is the real estate activity,” Celentano said over the phone. “Our transfer rights and our clerk fees, the activity, the projects that people do at home and mainly real estate. People are moving to Essex. The property is selling.