Proposed Dover budget calls for 24 percent increase in property tax rate

DOVER — Dover’s city manager on Wednesday outlined for council members a proposed operating budget for the new fiscal year that calls for a 24.3 percent hike in the property tax rate and the addition of 14 new full-time city employees and 15 part-time.

The proposed spending plan also calls for a 2-percent pay hike (plus a 1-percent bonus) for non-union city government employees currently being paid $85,000 or more.

The fiscal year begins July 1.

“Due to the revaluation of property, the tax rate must be increased from 33.78 cents per $100 of assessed value to $34.99 cents per $100 of assessed value to create a revenue neutral assessment,” City Manager Scott Koenig said.
Ultimately, the proposed property tax rate for fiscal year 2016 would be 42 cents per $100 of assessed value.

“This represents a total increase of $0.0822 or 24.3 percent increase in the property tax rate,” Mr. Koenig says in the letter.

“Even though we’re in a recession we’re still a growing city,” Mr. Koenig said. “As we see highlights of coming out the recession we still are kind of in a stop start mode.”

Councilman Brian Lewis expressed concerns about increasing taxes for residents.

“I’m not certain at this point how drastic this proposed budget will affect the taxpayers of Dover until all of the hearings are complete,” Mr. Lewis said. “I do have a concern with the tax rate increase and no discussion of new sources of revenue.”

Some of the projected revenues outlined include franchise fees, rental income, recreation revenues, sales of assets and other miscellaneous items.

The proposed spending plan includes pay increases for some city workers based on collective bargaining agreements, and non-bargaining employees. It also takes into account rising costs of employee benefits.

It allows for a 3-percent pay increase for non-bargaining workers making less than $85,000.

It would be 2 percent, plus a 1 percent bonus, for those making $85,000 and more.

The budget also accounts for adding 14 full-time and 15 part-time positions.

Total full-time employees would go from 347 to 361 and part-time from 78 to 93.

The special council meetings to review the budget will be held today at 6 p.m. and on June 1 and 2.
Council has until June 8 to adopt a budget for 2016.

Council President Timothy Slavin thanked Mr. Koenig and the staff that helped put the budget together.

“Preparing this budget is long task,” Mr. Slavin said. “But we thank you for it. “

“What’s going on in the state level is going at the local government level. We see some good signs in the economy, but those good signs are lagging. While we are more efficient as city we are showing signs of stress.”


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