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IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN

The future development of Middletown is the joint responsibility of private individuals and of the City officials. The City will have to provide the streets and utilities, the schools, the parks and other public improvements which will be needed in the future. Private initiative will provide the new stores and offices, factories, and homes which will make up the community's inventory of buildings. The City must schedule its projects for improvements so as to have them when they are needed and so as to be in a position to finance them. The Plan of Development should be accompanied by a capital improvement program to accomplish this purpose. The private sector of development is involved primarily with the use of land. The City influences private development chiefly through its zoning powers and through the control of new subdivision of land.

Capital Improvement Program
A capital improvement program is a financial scheduling of the important expenditures which are required to secure for the community the physical improvements and equipment which it needs and which are to be provided by the municipality. Its principal purpose is to provide an orderly means of financing these expenditures within the capacity of the City to pay for them. It makes possible a measure of foresight in planning for this financing.

Some capital expenditures, especially those which are relatively small, are paid for directly from the City's annual income. Others are paid for by borrowing. In this case, the amounts needed to pay for interest and amortization each year, known as "debt service", must be included in annual appropriations.

Each year the City spends an average of around $50,000 out of the general fund income for departmental capital outlays such as typewriters, office furniture and equipment, motor vehicles, public works equipment and similar items. In recent years the City has also appropriated approximately $100,000 annually as a special fund for highway improvements and about $70,000 as a special reserve fund for capital purposes. The annual repayment of past bond issues has cost about $450,000 in the last few years, but will be approximately $600,000 in the next few years because of added borrowing in late 1964 to pay for new school construction, the new police station, improvements in the Center Street urban renewal project and sewer improvements. Interest on these bonds will require close to $190,000 in the coming fiscal year. We see that the total spent each year on account of capital improvements is now approximately one million dollars. This points to the importance of efficient management of the capital program.

In Middletown there are three fire districts, whose finances are separate from those of the City. The operation of the sanitary sewer system is also separate from the general fund, the annual operating costs being met by service charges to the residents served. However, the capital costs of extensions to sanitary services and treatment plant have been met by general obligation bonds whose debt service has been part of the general fund. The Water Department is financed by its service charges and pays the debt service on its bonds. The latter are not a general obligation of the City.

In order to provide a background of financial data, essential to any consideration of the program, a study has been made of the trends of general fund income and expenditures for the past six years. These figures have been projected ahead to 1971. Estimates have been made of the grant list applicable to future years and the resulting tax rate needed to meet the general fund operations, including operation of the schools and debt service on the presently existing bonded debt. These data are summarized in Table 16. The general City operation costs include expenditures for general government, police protection, public works, welfare, parks and recreation and sundry municipal services. Indirect revenues include state grants for education and welfare, together with miscellaneous receipts. Debt service on school bonds is included with other bond redemption and interest. The taxable grand list of October, 1964, applicable to the fiscal year 1965-66, shows the result of a complete revaluation of properties, as well as a considerable amount of buildings, especially at the Hartford Electric Light Company plant. This will reduce the tax rate needed to raise the required funds in 1965-66 to approximately 31 and a half mills. The estimates give here for 1970-71 indicate a probable tax rate of 32 mills for the operation of the City as it is now carried on, including paying for the present debt and including capital outlays of $250,000 to be paid from income. This is referred to below as the base tax rate.

Table 15 shows the amount of present bonded debt outstanding today, together with annual payments required for redemption and interest through fiscal year 1970-71. It will be observed that the bonded debt will be cut in half in the next six years and that the total annual debt service requirement will be reduced by more than $155,000.

The estimate budgets for fiscal years 1966-1967 through 1970-71 include the sum of $250,000 for capital expenditures from income. This should cover at least $100,000 to $150,000 a year for highway improvements in order to carry out a long range program for bringing the streets and roads up to the standards mentioned in Chapter on Circulation. The $250,000 item is covered by the base tax rate mentioned before and will also be used for equipment and minor capital improvements for the various departments.

In addition to the items already covered by the base tax rate estimated for future years, certain other capital costs should be paid from annual income. The City will be constantly under the necessity of purchasing land for one purpose or another. In view of rapid pace development, it is good business to acquire land before development makes it difficult or costly. The most efficient and economical procedure will be to establish a land acquisition program and to appropriate annually a certain sum for this purpose. We recommend $75,000 a year, which will be equivalent to less than one-half mill on the tax rate.

Similarly, there is a great need for a progressive program to improve the City's parks and recreation facilities. We recommend that at least $75,000 should be appropriated annually for that purpose. In view of the proposed improvements at Crystal Lake, this should be increased to $125,000, for the fiscal years 1966-67 and 1967-68. This would be equivalent to less than one mill in those two years and to less than one half a mill in the fiscal years ending in 1969, 1970, and 1971.

Major projects like new senior and junior high schools, sewer extensions needed especially in connection with industrial development and some of the improvements in the downtown area will presumably be financed by bond issues. by way of illustration, a program for these items totaling approximately 7.5 million dollars, could be financed by annual payments equivalent to not more than three mills on the tax rate, beginning in the fiscal year 1967-68.

The Capital Improvement Program is intended to be a guide to the governing body of the City. Since projections of figures to several years ahead are based on estimates, it is vital that the data be revised annually and the figures be brought up to date. Each year the projections will be carried over one year further into the future. other projects will be proposed from time to time and their costs related to the total cost of the program.

TABLE 15
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
OUTSTANDING BONDED DEBT, 1965-1971*
Fiscal Year Outstanding Debt Beginning of Fiscal Year Paid in Fiscal Year Beginning July 1 Outstanding Debt End of Fiscal Year
Redemption Interest Total
1965-66 $6,752,000 $621,000 $189,409 $810,409 $6,131,000
1966-67 $6,131,000 $622,000 $172,108 $749,108 $5,509,000
1967-68 $5,509,000 $582,000 $155,272 $737,272 $4,927,000
1968-69 $4,927,000 $577,000 $138,915 $715,915 $4,350,000
1969-70 $4,350,000 $577,000 $120,549 $697,546 $3,773,000
1970-71 $3,773,000 $552,000 $102,620 $654,620 $3,221,000

TABLE 16
MIDDLETOWN CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
PROJECTION OF INCOME, EXPENDITURES, GRAND LIST AND TAX RATES
  Fiscal Years
1960 Budget 1964 Budget 1965 Budget 1970 Estimated
Basic Data
Population, excluding Institutions and University Students, June 30 of Fiscal Year 30,000 32,500 33,000 35,500
Public School Enrollment September 30 of Fiscal Year 5,585 6,050 6,100 6,600
As Percentage of Population 18.6 18.6 18.5 18.6
Taxable, Grand List (Second Year Previous) $89,159,310 $99,707,445 $146,135,810 $170,000,000
Taxable Grand List Per Capita $2,972 $3,068 $4,428 $4,788
School Operating Costs Per Pupil (Excluding Debt Service) $381 $469 $512 $580
City Operating Costs Per Capita (Excluding Schools and Debt Services) $50 $57 $61 $66
Average All State School Operating Grants Per Pupil $92 $119 $121 $126
Expenditures
General City Operating Costs (Excluding Schools, Debt Service, Capital Expenditures) $1,496,521 $1,837,485 $2,027,021 $2,345,000
School Operating Costs $2,126,975 $2,868,138 $3,120,731 $3,830,000
Bond Redemption, Issues Prior to Jan. 1, 1965 $418,000 $462,000 $621,000 $552,000
Interest on Bonds, Issues Prior to Jan. 1, 1965 $176,265 $126,837 $205,015 $102,620
Capital Expenditures from Income $99,407 $253,967 $213,013 $250,000
Total Yearly Expenditures $4,317,168 $5,548,427 $6,204,780 $7,079,620
Income
Indirect Revenues $896,408 $1,246,002 $1,609,448 $1,650,000
Amount to be Raised by Taxation $3,496,741 $4,186,627 $4,595,332 $5,429,620
Total Income $4,317,168 $4,432,629 $6,204,780 $7,079,620
Tax Rate
Tax Rate, Actual, Mills per $ 39.3 42.0    
Tax Rate Needed to Meet Future Total Yearly Expenditures     31.45 31.90

Zoning
The City's zoning ordinance was adopted in 1927 and has been amended many times. To meet today's needs, there should be an entirely new ordinance coordinated with the Plan of Development and designed to carry out its aims. Zoning in Middletown is very different from that in the average urban community, since Middletown contains both a compact downtown area and all degrees of development from urban to rural. The Plan of Development provides for a continuation of the rural character to outlying sections of the City and the zoning for these areas should be established to carry out this objective. In other places, it should provide for the varied kinds of development envisaged by the Plan.

 

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