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    Office Of The Mayor

    FY11 Budget Information

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    Budget Questions & Answers

    5/4/2010 - Office Cost Cutting: 1)Printer Consummables (ink cartridges): Move away from multiple individual printers using a variety ...
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    4/13/2010 - Close non essential departments: Reducing the work week by 2 hours. Close non essential departments at 3 p.m on Friday during the summer ...
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    4/13/2010 - Lighthouse, Green Fridays, Childcare @ City Hall & Retirement: charge $10.00 to park at Lighthouse to everyone, including Municipal ID card holders - residents who ...
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    3/31/2010 - Police Staffing Numbers: At the community budget meeting at Celentano School this week, a resident asked about police staffing ...
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    3/31/2010 - The Impact of a tax increase on condos: Q: According to the Register the residential property tax may increase to 8.8% and condominiums will ...
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    3/30/2010 - Correction to Public Safety Expenditure Figures in Mayor's Community Budget Presentation: At a recent community presentation at Nathan Hale School a resident pointed out a concern regarding ...
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    3/22/2010 - Cost of elections : Q: How much would we save by having mayoral and aldermanic elections every four years?A: A mayoral ...
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    3/22/2010 - Cost of horses in the PD: Q: How much would we save if we got rid of the horses for the PD?A: The mounted unit costs approximately ...
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    3/22/2010 - How much do we charge for bulk pick-up?: Q: How much do we charge for bulk pick-up?A: Effective July 1, 2011 per city ordinance, there is a ...
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    3/22/2010 - Wilson Hill Branch library: Q: How much would we save by closing the Wilson Hill Branch library?A: Closing of the Wilson Branch ...
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    3/20/2010 - Lobbyist: Q: What about the $100,000 we spend with William & Jennings our “Washington Communicator”?A: This ...
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    3/19/2010 - Length of City Hall Work Week/Work Rules: Q: Under current contracts, does the City have the power to unilaterally change the work requirements ...
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    3/12/2010 - Property Tax: Q: Please explain clearly and precisely how the 8.8% (avg) increase fits in with the property tax increase ...
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    3/11/2010 - City Clerk: Q: Why do we pay the City Clerk $46,597 a year, when we only pay aldermen/women $2000 a year and they ...
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    3/11/2010 - Elm City Resident Card: Q: The citizens of New Haven were promised by many Alders and the Mayor that the Municipal ID program ...
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    3/11/2010 - Gateway Terminal: Q: I am interested to know why the Gateway Terminal only pays a few hundred dollars a year on taxes ...
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    3/11/2010 - Pensions, Healthcare & Worker's Compensation: Q: What is the city's plan to deal with the dramatically increasing costs associated with pensions, ...
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    3/11/2010 - Police: Q: If I am asked to pay more in taxes I want good police patrols. Why is it that the Hill and Fair ...
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    3/11/2010 - Travel: Q: Why not freeze all travel expenses? The Mayor's budget proposes $724,333 to spend on travel expenses.A:The ...
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    3/11/2010 - Tweed: Q: Do you have an official legal opinion from our Corporation Counsel and from the FAA that specifically ...
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    3/11/2010 - Tweed Landing Fees: Q: Why haven't we raised the landing fees at Tweed to be at minimum close to what Waterbury charges? ...
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    3/9/2010 - Budget Priorities: Q: What priorities does the budget represent?A. Public Safety: Police & Fire Classes and PromotionsStreet ...
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    Frequently Asked Questions About the New Haven FY 2010-2011 Budget

    Q. What is the average increase to residential property tax bills expected to be?
    A. 8.8%

    Q. What is the average increase to commercial property tax bills expected to be?
    A. 9.7 %

    Q. What change should I expect in my motor vehicle tax bill?
    A. Motor vehicle tax bills are expect to decrease by 11.94%

    Q. How is the City doing with tax collections?
    A.The City has maintained a tax collection of more than 98% for several years.

    Q. Why not cut Tweed?
    A. By charter city must operate an airport cost to city of operating airport is significantly higher than the payment currently made to tweed. In addition tweed must continue operating otherwise the city and tweed would be subject to repayment of millions of dollars to the federal aviation administration

    Q. Why not just tax Yale?
    A. Contrary to popular belief, Yale is the City’s largest taxpayer. Yale pays taxes on property used for educational purposes. As a major landlord Downtown, Yale pays taxes on its commercial properties and also pays a multi-million voluntary Pilot in Lieu of Taxes. Connecticut general statute exempts private colleges from taxation. Any buildings used for educational purposes cannot be taxed by the City.

    Q. What is IBB?
    A. In FY2011 the City will initiate Innovation Based Budgeting (IBB).  IBB will engage all managers of City agencies and authorities in identifying productivity, cost savings and revenue gains through a results based accounting approach.

    IBB will accomplish these gains throughout City government and the FY2011 Budget is predicated upon heightened accountability from managers and coordinators. In FY2011, IBB must produce $8 million in budget balancing results. IBB requires leaders of City agencies to increase productivity and revenue while controlling expenditures thereby yielding savings for the City. This new approach to the City Budget, will target an additional value of 1.7% of the base budget to be reduced over the course of each of the next five fiscal years.  Unyielding attention to what City government does, why it does it, is it still necessary, is there a better way to do it, can someone else do it better, are key to a robust IBB initiative.  

    Q.What will IBB seek to accomplish?
    A. The City’s greatest revenue gains and expense reductions will be accomplished through IBB and the targeted efforts of City agencies and departments. In FY2011, IBB will yield an initial gain of $8 million identified in the FY2011 Budget.  The initial agenda for FY 2011 includes:
    1.         Document Management:  The City of New Haven consumes 11,000 cases of paper a year and makes nearly 47 million copies.  Embracing the benefits of the digital age, this year the City will focus on a comprehensive document management system that will reduce paper and copy costs, and organize and link data for easy filing and recovery to enhance productivity.  This initiative will also have the long term impact of reducing the City’s clerical needs.
    2.         Electronic Permitting:  Recognizing the need to enhance customer service, electronic permitting will enable residents and businesses easy access to a variety of permits. Electronic Permitting will be introduced on a rolling basis to departments.  It is anticipated that this will increase compliance with current permitting requirements and enhance revenue. It is also expected to increase productivity of current clerical staff, with the long term possibility of reducing the need for current staffing levels.
    3.         Storm Water Authority:  The Authority would equitably allocate costs to users both exempt and taxable properties, establish accountability, provide focused management for the storm water program; facilitate public education and participation and improve level of service and environmental compliance.
    4.         Reduce Liability:  The City’s rating agencies have indicated the need to increase the contributions to the self insurance fund.  This year’s Budget includes an increase of $1.5M.  To reduce the long term liability associated with claims the City must increase the capabilities of the legal division.  The innovation Budget restores two positions to Corporation Counsel to help reduce long term liability.
    5.         Targeted Privatization: The City will examine certain functions of government and evaluate potential benefits of privatizing certain operations. 
    6.         Strategic Partnerships:  While the City remains committed to delivering high quality services, it is difficult to do so without adequate staffing levels.  Through the use of Strategic Partnerships, the City can leverage support of institutions, volunteers, interns and fellows to enhance our capabilities. 
    7.         Emergency Medical Response / Fire Services: Recognizing the changing mission of the Fire Department, the City will aim to recruit and train more Emergency Medical Staff and Paramedics.  This will enable the City to offer better quality medical responses, but will also increase the revenue associated with Medical Response Billing.
    8.         Board of Education Savings:  The line item for the Board of Education reflects 37% of overall cost.  The Board has committed to a careful review to identify savings, enhance revenue and maximize productivity. 
    9.         Armory Reuse:  In the course of 2010, the City will assume ownership of the Goffe Street Armory. The 126,266 square foot facility has potential for creative reuse that can satisfy some of the current space needs.  This will help in reducing ongoing lease requirements and offers the added potential of centralizing a number of functions.  The City will examine all opportunities for reuse to maximize the savings potential.
    10.       CMED:  With the 2008 consolidation of Police and Fire Communications to 1 Union Avenue, and the 2009 creation of the Department of Public Safety Communication, the City has created a stronger dispatch and operations structure.  This structure has the potential to assume the CMed Function.  This will enhance capabilities, reduce the City’s required contribution to CMed and create a new revenue stream. 
    11.       Governmental Re-Organization:  The City will use this process to examine the way that it does business. Departments with similar missions or where there is a duplication of services may be combined or reorganized to recognize savings or enhancements in productivity.  

    Q.What is the Property Tax Stabilization Trust Fund and What will it be used for?
    A. Until the economy recovers, prudence dictates that hard won gains be preserved and that longer term strategies be undertaken without undue revenue increases.  Toward that end this Budget proposes the creation, funding and utilization of a four year Property Tax Stabilization Trust Fund (PTSTF) that will supplement tax revenue to support essential activities.

    An accompanying Ordinance and Agreement with Gates Capital Resources will capitalize the PTSTF.  Funded from the proceeds of the revenue generated by the City's parking meters, the transaction will provide some $10 million in the current year and sizeable funds over the next four years to bring property taxes down. An IBB initiative will hold the City harmless in the years afterward, protecting the meter revenue stream as it now exists.  Taken together the PTSTF and IBB Meter Initiative will enable the City to get through the next several years without undue property tax increases and without invading the City’s Fund Balance.

    The PTSTF will enable the City to help stabilize taxes until the fiscal climate improves and while the long term solutions are executed.

    How are New Haven revenues changing?
    FY2011 revenues increase by 2.6% over FY2010. 

    Q. How are expenses in the FY2011 budget changing?
    Expenditures increase by 2.64% in the FY2011 Budget. 

    A. Why are expenditures increasing during this difficult economy?
    Virtually the entire increase in the FY2011 Budget can be accounted for in three areas: Medical Benefits, Worker’s Compensation and Pensions.  These three areas of the Budget well illustrate this structural problem in the expenditure side of municipal operations.  A key priority for future budgets must be fixing the broad structural imbalance in the City Budget resulting from these three cost drivers.

    Q: What do I own that is subject to taxes?
    A:  Three types of property are assessed and subject to taxes: Real Estate, Motor Vehicles, and Personal Property.  Any land or buildings you won are considered real estate.  Registered motorized or unmotorized vehicles, (including cars, trucks, trailers and motorcycles) are considered motor vehicles for tax purposes.  Personal property is general category fixtures either owned or leased by business.  Unregistered motor vehicles are also taxed as personal property.
    Q: How is the tax rate established?
    A:  The property tax rate is expressed in mills, or thousandths of a dollar.  A tax rate (mill rate) of 42.21 mills is equivalent to $42.21 in tax per $1,000 of net assessed value.  The Board of  Aldermen sets a mill rate annually.
    Q: What is the best way to pay my tax bill?
    A: The most convenient way to pay your tax bill is by mail.  Be sure to include all bills that you wish to pay and write the bill numbers on the check.  If you wish to have a receipt returned to you, please send all copies of your bills and a self-addressed stamped envelope with your payment.  We will not send back your receipt if you fail to include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

    Q: What happens if I pay late?
    A:  Taxes are due on July 1, payable by August 1.  You have a one-month “grace” period in which to pay without penalty.  If August 1 falls on a weekend, you have the first business day in August to pay, in person or by mail (with U.S. postmark used as date of payment). 
    Bills in the amount of $100 or less are due in a single installment for real estate and personal property.  Bills in excess of $100 are due in two installments.  The second installment is due on January 1.  The second installment also has the same “grace” period as the first installment.
    You will only receive one bill for real estate and personal property taxes that have two installments due.  We do not send a bill for the second installment of these bills.
    Motor vehicle bills are due and payable in one installment.
    Past due payments are subject to interest at the rate of one and one half percent per month from the due date of the tax (July 1), as required by state law.  Payments made after the grace” period are considered past due and will incur 3% interest, representing two months delinquency (July and August). 

    Q: Can the interest on my tax bill be waived?
    A:  No.  The Tax Collector does not have the authority to waive interest and makes no exceptions.  As owners of property, taxpayers are responsible to see that taxes are paid when due. 

    Q:  What if I never receive a tax bill? 
    A:  Failure to receive a tax bill does not exempt you from payment of all taxes and interest charges.  If you do not receive a bill for which you are responsible, call the Tax Collector’s Office at 203-946-8054 and request a copy of the bill. 

    Q: If I am being improperly billed for a motor vehicle what should I do?
    A:  contact your Assessor’s Office 203-946-4800.  Do not ignore your bill!  Even if your vehicle has been sold, and plates returned to DMV; stolen and not recovered; declared a total loss; or if you have moved from New Haven  or moved out of Connecticut.
    If any of these situations supplies to you, you may be entitled to a credit.  Contact the Assessor for information regarding the acceptable forms of proof for the issuance of a credit.  Two forms of written proof are required, and you must apply for the credit within a limited time.

    Q:  I recently replaced a vehicle, and still got a bill on the old vehicle.  Do I have to pay it?
    A:  Yes.  If you replaced one vehicle with another, and used the same license plates, you will receive a pro-rated Supplemental motor vehicle tax bill in January for the new vehicle.  You will receive a credit on the supplemental bill for the amount you pay now on the old vehicle.  You will receive this credit without having to apply for it.  However, you still must pay the entire amount due on the old vehicle.  If you obtained new license plate for the new vehicle, you must apply for a credit. Contact the Assessors Office at 203-946-4800.

    Q:  I need to register my car.  What do I need from the Tax Collector’s Office? 
    A:  If you owe delinquent property on any vehicle in your name,  you may not renew any registrations at the Department of Motor Vehicles without paying your taxes first.  All delinquent taxes in your name must be paid in full with cash, cashiers check or money order for an immediate clearance (stamp or release form).  For payment made by check, clearance will be given after 10 business days. 

    Q:  I have moved.  What is my tax jurisdiction for motor vehicles?
    A:  Your tax town is your town of residency  as of October 1.  If you move from New Haven after October 1, but still reside in Connecticut, you will still pay vehicle taxes to New Haven. Municipalities within Connecticut do not apportion motor vehicle tax bills for portions of a tax year.  If you register the vehicle in another state, contact he Assessor’s office.
    If you move, you must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of your new address within 48 hours.  Be sure that you request a change of address on your driver’s license and on your vehicle registration (s).  Post cards for this are available at the Tax Collector’s Office and the Police Department. 

    Q:  What is a “supplemental” motor vehicle tax bill? 
    A:  If you newly registered a vehicle after October 1 (first time registration), you should expect to receive a pro-rated tax bill the following January.  This “supplemental” bill will reflect the time from the month the vehicle was first registered, through September (the end of an assessment period).

    Q:  My bill says “back taxes due.”  What does that mean? 
    A:  According to office records, there may be past due taxes in your name or on the parcel of property in question if you taxes were not paid in full in a timely manner.  Call 203-946-8054 for updated interest charges, if applicable.  Back taxes and interest must be paid in full before payment on current bill can be accepted.  Any payment you send in toward your current bill will be applied to the back taxes.

    Q:  My real estate bill is supposed to be paid by mortgage company.  What should I do? 
    A:  If this is the case, you should not receive a bill indicating the two payments due.  If you do, however, you should immediately contact your lender and ask them to whom and where the bill should be sent so that payment will be made in a timely manner. 

    Q:  How is m motor vehicle assessment determined?
    A:  Standard price guidelines are used in determining the value of motor vehicles.  Assessments for tax purposes are based upon 70% of average retail value, as determined by the NADA book. 

    Q:  What are the hours of the Tax Collector?
    A:  The Tax Collector’s Office, located in the New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St.  is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Q:  Could I be eligible for any exemptions?
    A:  You may be.  The exemption categories include, Veteran; spouse of a deceased veteran; blind; totally disabled, motor vehicle of a serviceman (active duty); farmers/merchants; and forest, farm and open space.  For details about these exemptions, or if you think you may qualify, contact the Assessor’s office at 203-946-4800.

    Q:  Are there any breaks for senior citizens?
    A: Yes.  If you or your spouse are age 65 or older, permanently reside in New Haven (legal residence), either own your own home or rent, and meet certain income restrictions, you may be eligible for one or more forms of town or state-financed tax relief.  To inquire about income eligibility requirements, or for information about these programs, contact the Assessor’s office at 203-946-4800. 

    Q:  What period of time does a tax bill cover?
    A:  Motor vehicle and personal property tax bills that are due in July cover the time from the previous October to the current September.
    There is no statutory rule concerning the time period covered by real estate tax bills.  If you buy or sell real estate, adjustments for real estate taxes will be made by the attorneys who are handling the closing.  Care should be taken to ensure taxes are paid, particularly when a closing occurs within sixty days of a tax due date.

    Q:  Do I need to save my receipts?
    A:  Yes.  Taxpayers are advised to save their receipts for 15 years, the length of time during which municipal taxes are collectible.
    Taxpayers should retain their own payment information for purposes of claiming tax credits and filling out their federal and state income tax forms.

    Q:  What if I think my assessment is too high?
    A:  Your first appeal should be directed to the Assessor, and then to the Board of Assessment Appeals, an elected board that meets in February and September.  If you are dissatisfied with the Board’s decision, you may take your appeal to the Superior Court within 2 months of the board’s action.  Appearance before the Board is required, but you do not need to hire an attorney.  All documentation substantiating your appeal should be presented at that time.  For more information about the appeals process, contact the Assessor’s office at 203-946-4800.

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