At a public hearing on Thursday, the Town Council approved a $97.2 million budget and a lower property tax rate for the year that begins Oct. 1.
The budget and tax rate received final approval from the council on a vote of 4-0, with Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay absent.
The budget, about $8 million (or 9.3 percent) larger than this year’s $89.1 million spending plan, includes nearly 10 new employee positions and 9 percent across-the-board pay increases tied to inflation.
Also included is $2.5 million for improvements in traffic signalization and crosswalk safety.
Commodities and other contractual costs are also up because of inflation, Town Manager Kirk Blouin said.
There is a $2.5 million transfer into the budget, from the capital improvement fund, to help fund reconstruction of the north fire station.
The council approved a property tax rate of $2.69 per $1,000 of taxable value – a 7 percent reduction from this year’s rate of $2.90 per $1,000.
The lower rate means homesteaded property owners will pay $111 less per $1 million of taxable value, according to the town. Those without the homestead exemption, who make up about 64 percent of property owners in the town, will pay $66 more per $1 million.
But Blouin said the budget will still generate $5.7 million more in property tax revenue because of an 18 percent average increase in taxable values on the island.
Thursday’s hearing was the second of two public hearings legally required by the state for formal approval of the budget and tax rate.