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Third Time a Charm for the Town Budget

Voters approved the $50.34 million municipal budget at referendum Tuesday.

With 35.66 percent voting, taxpayers approved the $50.43 million municipal budget for 2011-12 at a town wide referendum on Tuesday by a vote of 1,759 in favor to 1,513 against.

It was the third time voters were asked to consider an expenditure and revenue package for the coming fiscal year. Voters rejected the first two proposals, which would have raised taxes 3.9 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, on May 3 and May 17.

Tuesday, a small group of town officials, including those on the Town Council and school board, and representatives from a group that advocates for the school system, were jubilant when Democratic Registrar of Voters Michael Wyman announced the results in the Hicks Memorial Municipal Center gymnasium.

“I’m thankful that even on the third attempt we still have a budget that is manageable on the town side,” Town Council Chairman Frederick Daniels said Tuesday night.

“I don’t envy the decisions that the Board of Education needs to make,” Daniels said referring to the board’s pending discussions about how to reduce its original $36.02 million to meet the newly approved $34.66 million education budget.

Taxpayers were split on their approval between the two districts with 906 supporting the plan and 633 rejecting it in District 1 when compared with the 853 who supported it and 880 who rejected it in District 2.

The approved budget represents a $1.12 million, or 2.25 percent, spending increase when compared to the current year. It requires a tax rate of 29.73 mills, or a 1.99 percent increase in taxes. The Town Council will meet tonight at 7:30 in the council chambers at Hicks Memorial to officially set the tax rate.

Broken down, the new budget is as follows:

  • General Government, $10,766,199 (a 1.36 percent increase)
  • Board of Education, $34,662,357 (a 2.53 percent increase)
  • Debt Service, $4,751,796 (a 2.79 percent increase)
  • Capital, $247,310 (a 7.27 percent decrease)

For school board member Steve Clark, the budget approval was bittersweet.

“I’m glad we finally have a budget to work with,” Clark said before leaving the polling place Tuesday night, adding that now the board must decide how to amend it original proposal.

Clark said that the board will ask Superintendent of Schools William Guzman to prioritize the budget items and present ways to reduce it’s original plan to adhere to the approved spending limits. This will be done at the board’s two meetings scheduled for June.

, Guzman said he anticipates having to cut further from proposed increases, which include $172,564 in athletic programs and personnel and $143,274 in programs, facilities and support services.

With the municipal budget approved, Daniels said he remains hopeful that the state budget will keep promised aid to towns and cities intact. that he has a plan to fill a $400 million budget gap over the next two years by a combination of using state surplus money and making additional cuts to the budget.

His plan is contingent upon the agreeing to contract revisions that are projected to save the state $1.6 billion over the two-year budget.

Max Headroom June 01, 2011 at 11:56 PM
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that someone would make an unfounded claim here. After all, they probably heard it from somebody whose yard guy heard it from his neighbor's aunt. :) Be careful, though. People get grumpy and call you names when you argue with supportable facts instead of rumor and prejudice. Safer to stick with things you heard on AM radio this morning. (Translation: thanks for taking the time to post something with substance, from a position of knowing.)
marie cohen June 02, 2011 at 03:53 AM
Patch and their long-distance censor Megan Bard Morse should not profit from continuing to squash clean ideological discord from those with whom they disagree. Post #1 here is classic. Over and out.
Max Headroom June 02, 2011 at 04:28 AM
Hey, Marie, long time. Is Chris out of town? :) I don' t think it's Megan's fault and Patch's only fault is the policy that participation=good (means people are looking at the ads) but ANY disagreement=bad (because someone, somewhere might be upset). Fault entirely of the medium, not necessarily the managers. Blogs are elitist nonsense. News blogs are pointless nonsense. *Shrug*. Not news.
Heather June 02, 2011 at 04:23 PM
Max, Check out the forum portion of city-data "dot" com, it may save you the trouble of creating something new.
Max Headroom June 02, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Thanks, Heather, I'd forgotten about city-data. The problem there is that it's too big, too confusing and not adaptable by the user base. I've suggested a dedicated Tolland forum site to someone who can create and manage it left-handed, making it a lot more customized for us AND responsive to what the users and community needs. There's no need to rely on mass-supply services for this.

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