East Haven mayor proposes property tax reduction

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EAST HAVEN – Mayor Joseph Maturo announced Monday that the city hoped to reduce the property tax.

Anticipating encouraging news of reduced debt and a third budget surplus since his return to office in 2011, Maturo announced Monday he will be recommending a half-mill–or 1.5 percent–tax decrease in the upcoming 2015-2016 budget. Essentially, the average East Haven home could expect a reduction of $101 dollars in real estate taxes, which does not include a reduction in motor vehicle taxes.

“In normal administrations, other than my own, we have gone out and bonded for things like computers that, in six months, are out of date,” said Maturo. “The more money that is in the taxpayers’ pockets, the better off our community is, the better offer state is, the better off our nation is.”

If implemented, the reduction would be the largest tax decrease in East Haven in a non-revaluation year since 1989.

“It’s efficient stewardship of resources,” said Maturo. “I treat the town as I would treat my own home and its finances.”

Maturo credited debt reduction–Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rewarded the town with more favorable ratings–and budget surpluses for the reduction. At the same time he proposed capital improvement program for the upcoming budget as well.

“They gave us a better rate on our borrowing, which helped us immensely when we had to go out and borrow $3 million from the Department of Justice for a police department,” said Maturo.

The debt reduction will help the town make improvements as well.

“Our debt payments are scheduled to drop by $2.6 million dollars, or 37.8 percent. As a result, I will be recommending that we pursue an aggressive, town-wide improvement program to renovate fields and existing buildings to expand the array of services we currently offer residents,” Maturo said in a statement.

While taxes will be decreased, the mayor says that does not mean service will be cut. In fact, the town has increased services.

“We used to have bulk pick up once a year and now we get it every week,” said Maturo. “We never had 24/7 paramedic service. I instituted that about eight years ago.”

The mayor, who is currently serving his seventh term, is up for re-election in November.

In January 2012, after four town cops were charged federally with violating the civil rights of Latinos, Maturo told a reporter that he might have tacos for dinner. He later apologized. Maturo was sued in August for sexual harassment. That lawsuit still pending.