Editor’s Note: This article is one in a series that Patch is producing as a look back at the year.
The economic climate in Rhode Island and indeed across the country continues to be challenging, and Middletown felt it this year as well. With less state and federal money available, the town’s own budget was pressed, particularly with the school department needing to find resources to make up for less state aid. Throughout town, the business profile includes establishments devoted to professional services, financial services, research and development, and hospitality, with economic development efforts helping to attract a movie crew for part of last summer. Here, a few key business notes:
- Town Budget: For the current fiscal year, which began July 1, the town is operating with a budget of approximately $63 million, with $36 million going to the school department and the remaining $27 million for all municipal operations. The budget required a 2.99 percent tax increase for property owners. For next year’s budget, the town hopes to see more public participation; an open house will take place Jan. 25, 2012, at Town Hall. "Town Council Approves Tax Increase"
- Middletown Economic Development Advisory Committee: This committee, which includes Town Council members and the town’s Planning Director, is working to expand business opportunities in Middletown. The next monthly meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for Jan. 11, in Town Hall; http://www.middletownedc.com/
- Film Industry: From May through July, a movie crew was filming in the area, and the Town of Middletown rented out part of the former JFK Elementary School to the crew for use as home base. The film, called Moonrise Kingdom, is scheduled for release in May 2012; director Wes Anderson brought such stars as Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton to town. "Wes Anderson Film Moonrise Kingdom Comes to Middletown"