An editorial in the February 23, 2007 issue of the Montpelier Bridge is critical of city and school spending and the impact on property taxes. As a library patron pointed out to me, there is an unfortunate error in the editorial that results in an overstatement of the rate of increase of school and city budgets.
The editorial states that the city’s budget is increasing at the rate of 2.1% and school budgets are increasing by 4.59%. The author continues, “Now, let’s combine both budgets. If both school and city budgets are approved, we’re looking at a projected 6.6 percent increase.”
This math is incorrect. If the city’s budget increases by 2.1% and the school's by 4.59%, the combined increase is 3.61%, not 6.6%. (The rate of inflation in New England in 2006 also happens to be 3.6 %.)
Montpelier residents have a relatively high property tax burden. But arguments in opposition to library funding, or funding of other community services, should be based on an accurate analysis.