Norwalk tax board sets budget: 2% mill rate hike

Detail from the budget document presented by Norwalk Chief Financial Officer Henry Dachowitz at Monday’s Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk’s mill rates aren’t escalating as was predicted just over a month ago – the increase is an average 2% instead of the average 3% that was discussed.

An additional $3.5 million of revenue was factored in Monday when the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) gave final approval to its budget, reducing the tax levy from the planned $383.1 million to $379.6 million.

“It’s absolutely just a reduction of the amount of taxes we’re going to collect, and a reduction of the mill rates and the average taxpayer,” Norwalk Chief Financial Officer Henry Dachowitz said.

The administration “was not comfortable” with the mill rate increase, Mayor Harry Rilling said.

“This has been a very, very difficult budget season, perhaps the most I’ve been involved in because of inflation, because of the pandemic, with people losing their jobs and some people losing their homes,” he said. “It gets to a point where with eight and a half percent inflation, it becomes very difficult to justify raising taxes to an extreme degree when people are struggling.”

Dachowitz explained that a dispute with the Norwalk Housing Authority is being resolved after years of negotiations.

“A number of years back, they looked at the contract with the City regarding the PILOT payments, Payment In Lieu Of Taxes. They felt that it wasn’t interpreted accurately, and that they had been overpaying what was appropriate. So they stopped paying us, the PILOT of about half a million dollars a year for seven years. I think they put it in an escrow somewhere. But they didn’t pay it.”

Every time the parties felt close to resolution they came up with other issues but Norwalk Chief of Staff Laoise King feels “very close” to having an agreement in place, Dachowitz continued.

The continuing PILOT amount was an issue but also carting factored in, as NHA felt the trash wasn’t being picked up often enough at one of its facilities, he said. “They were paying for it. But it wasn’t offset, I don’t even know all the details. Bottom line, the three and a half million would get released as a lump sum… very early in the next fiscal year.”

“This is a huge win,” BET member Anne Yang said. “… Having a 2% increase in taxes, I think is terrific.”

“I think this is just great, great news,” BET member James Frayer said. “… The hard work has really paid off this year.”


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One response to “Norwalk tax board sets budget: 2% mill rate hike”

  1. bryanmeek

    The real city side increase is 8% when you look closer and realize we are kicking the can down the road on our pensions.

    A lot of good excuses were made for cutting 12 million from the pension fund, but in the end they are excuses.

    For for this year’s “magic” See page 321 (pdf p. 347) . https://www.norwalkct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/29072/FY2024-Recommended-Operating-Budget?bidId=

    Our pension funds are ok for now, see page 64 (pdf p. 71) https://norwalkct.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/20254

    But, if they lose another $100 million plus like they did last year on top of the debt we are taking on for the NHS we don’t need, we are going to have some big problems down the road.

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