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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Farrell: IӒm Trying Very Hard

Farrell: IӒm Trying Very Hard to Keep the Tax Increase at 9 Percent
Westport First Selectman Diane Goss Farrell told fellow Democrats Monday night she hopes to keep the tax increase for the next fiscal year at 9 percent.

Following up on a comment at a Democratic Town Committee meeting by Board of Finance Chair Steven L. Ezzes that taxes ԓmost likely will rise by 9.3 percent, Farrell said, ԓIm trying very hard to get to 9 percent.Ҕ

As stated previously, she said she hoped more revenue income than earlier anticipated would help keep the rate lower.

She said the town budget was going up by about 2.9 percent and the education budget by about 5.1 percent, for about a 5.6 percent overall increase. A higher tax increase was due to no reserves being available this year as in past years to keep the increase down.

No one likes to pay more taxes, including her, said Farrell. She said her family, like other Westporters, faced increased tuition costs and other rising expenses. We are taxpayers as well,Ӕ she said.

The First Selectwoman said in addition to taxes, Westporters faced another round of revaluation of real property next year, but added, the sticker shock wonӒt be as dramatic as four years ago.

As for attempts by former Representative Town Meeting member Michael Gilbertie to win a referendum to cut $5 million from town spending, Farrell said should he be successful and voters approve the proposal, one of the more interesting debates will be how a reduction would be apportioned.

She said the referendum does not specify from which budget Ԗ the town side or education side the cuts would come. ֓It should be a very interesting spring, Farrell said.



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