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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.

Megan Bard (Editor) June 01, 2011 at 10:59 AM
Hello Tolland, As I have on previous budget stories, I ask that you keep the Patch Terms of Use policy - http://tolland.patch.com/terms - in mind when commenting on this story. Please keep your comments civil and constructive. Remember, those posting here could be your friends and neighbors. Thank you and have a great day. Megan
Luther Heggs June 01, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Donna Allegro 9:33pm on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Heard my niece in middle school had an assembly that brought up the issue of the budget. After the assembly the teacher told the students in her class to remind their parents to vote YES on the budget. This evening. Any truth to this? My hard earned tax dollars at work!
Luther Heggs June 01, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Max Headroom 11:37pm on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 So... teachers aren't allowed to have an opinion? Aren't allowed to speak in favor of keeping their school adequately funded? How is this in any way a waste of your tax dollars?
Luther Heggs June 01, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Donna Allegro 5:21am on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 Certainly teachers can have an opinion - they can stand by the highway and wave a sign- but not in the classroom that I pay for. In my humble opinion I pay teachers to teach 9 year olds standard classroom subjects. Using 9 year olds to get your "message " out is inappropriate! The teacher did not simply tell students to remind their parents to go out and vote- they were to remind them to vote yes- political message. Since the taxpayers are paying the tab for the education there should be equal time given as to why their parents should vote no. Both sides = education. One side = political message. I thought we had already decided it was inappropriate to send political literature home with the students- do you think this is different?
Luther Heggs June 01, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Luther Heggs 6:47am on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 Tell your daughter to tell the teacher that they should sell the empty Parker School building since now it's an extra. Reply Delete Luther Heggs 9:53am on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 Un-friggin-real. The teacher's opinion should stay the teacher's opinion; she/he gets one vote and so do I. 9 year old kids don't need to hear how their parents should vote, or that their parents are 'wrong', 'stupid', 'misinformed' or worse 'don't care about you or the school' from their day-time authority figures. Applying pressure and scare tactics on 9 year old (or any student) should be an offense that is negatively recorded on the teacher's record. And how much time did they take out of math class to indoctrinate the kids on how the teacher plans on voting? And if this indoctrination was masked by occurring in a 'current events class' (if there is such a thing for 4th graders), maybe they should be focusing on how Memorial Day represents the hard fought freedoms that we should not take for granted - like the right to vote YOUR OWN conscience and not be pressured by anyone to vote their way.
Max Headroom June 01, 2011 at 05:11 PM
First off, thanks for the effort, Luther. We may disagree on a number of things but seem to be in the same place on the fragmentation of the discussions here. I'm getting pretty disinterested in posting further here, though. (I'm sure you're all heartbroken, and no doubt Megan's response is "Oh, thank goodness!") I'm used to sites that both encourage and foster extended discussions - one site I visit has a thread that is going on *five years long*. Patch obviously wants only short, fluffy, throwaway comments from its readers - toss out a thought today, forget about it tomorrow (or worse, repeat it tomorrow). With no way for readers to initiate a topic, with only short responses permitted, with threads being closed arbitrarily (sometimes several times in a 24-hour period as installments of a topic are posted)... well, my mind works in longer stretches and trying to keep up with something intended to get ADD-afflicted users to read the ads just isn't worth it. Add in that even polite conflict is discouraged... one side or the other can post their views endlessly, but as soon as a contrary opinion is expressed, it becomes some sort of war zone that has to be monitored, censored and terminated. I understand that the discussion here has to remain reasonably polite, but insisting on kindergarten rules of "nobody say nothing that's not nice" is just a waste of potential. I guess it's great for those who want to post their brief thoughts and never be contradicted.
Max Headroom June 01, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Let me add that I thoroughly enjoy the engagements here, even with those I completely disagree with. We need a better local "town meeting" site... I think I will give a techie friend of mine a call and see what he can do for us. Just imagine, being able to start your own thread and participate in the discussion as long as it has steam to persist... :)
charles June 01, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Since a teacher is talking to a student about what will effect everyone if the budget is cut, it is important for children to know that a YES vote would help the schools, and a NO vote would hurt them. Since I hope that someone in a relation with kids like yourself would vote YES for the budget anyway to support them, it should be looked at as a good thing. Besides, a cut budget would lower teacher salaries. They are citizens, and have a right to express their opinions.
charles June 01, 2011 at 08:19 PM
As someone that is related to children, it should be your job to talk to them about the meaning of Memorial Day. In this so said "current events class", to talk about the school would be a good opportunity to make good, education-supporting citizens out of them. If you want a "current events class", than you should vote yes for the budget so there is money to support it.
Laura Krementowski June 01, 2011 at 11:23 PM
As the parent of a middle school student, no such assembly every occurred nor was the subject of the budget brought up. I really wish if individuals would like to discuss a topic that they would research it and confirm or deny information based upon the information given to you from the particular individual. As a parent who faithfully participates in the monthly 'Breakfast with the Principal' it has been discussed that teachers are not allowed to discuss the budget pertaining to how a family should vote. Perhaps if you have an issue with any subject, topic, how your tax dollars are spent or not spent, please join us at the middle school. Dr. Willett would be more than happy to answer your questions.
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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