On Wednesday evening, Tolland residents gathered at Tolland High School to discuss the proposed 2013-14 budget.
Town Manager Steven Werbner has put forth a budget of . That is a jump of $482,491 from this year’s adopted spending plan and a percentage increase of 0.94 percent. Werbner said $357,000 of the increase is from the Board of Education’s $36,059,250 proposal. That is a 1 percent increase.
The overriding theme of the night was the people aren’t happy with the budget, but mostly because they don’t believe it does enough for the town or the schools.
“I do not feel that this budget represents progress for the town,” said Jennifer Avery.
Ken Kittredge told the town council and audience that he would like the opportunity to vote on a budget with a higher number. He said that he thinks the school and town need more money and that it’s time to stop telling people what they can’t afford - he wants to see people given something to step up to and something to dream about and go after.
This sentiment was echoed by residents who believe that people in town will be able to find a few extra dollars to support something they care about and want to see achieved. Showing people the value in an increase that makes sense and supports the town and the schools was also a point made by many.
Resident Paul Krasusky said that people say they don’t want to pay more in taxes, but he asked everyone to really think about what they voting down.
“Just give it some thought please,” he said.
Hugh Jeffries, a 17-year-old student, told everyone that while he can’t vote, he is interested in the budget and the finances of the town. He said that he works part time, assembling lawnmowers in Ellington and pays taxes.
When it comes to the town of Tolland, Jeffries said that he would gladly give however much money it takes to make the town work the way it’s supposed to work.
Many people felt this same way, and these sentiments were echoed several times throughout the night.
“My family is willing to invest the additional dollars per year to sustain Tolland as a community,” said Karen Moran. “I believe the 1 percent proposed budget increase does not do that and I would like the opportunity to vote on a higher number.”
On Tuesday, the council will adopt the finalized budget. This meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Hicks Memorial Municipal Center.