Budget Turnout Up Slightly In Morning Voting

Local registrars report that morning voting for the second round town and school budgets was just slightly ahead of the number of voters who turned out for the failed first round referendum last month.

According to poll officials 1,387 ballots were logged by noon, eight more than at the same time two weeks ago, during the first round of voting on April 23.

The Legislative Council endorsed a second round budget request with a combined $900,000 reduction, making the new school district request $71,345,304 and the municipal request $38,904,521. The municipal side of the budget includes all previously committed debt service costs for all town and school capital projects equaling $10,058,924.

The council action made the bottom line on the second-round request $110,249,825, representing a 3.87 percent increase in spending over the current year.

If approved, the increase will generate a 2013-14 mill rate of 33.43, reflecting an estimated average 4.29 percent increase in taxes when property value reductions in the latest revaluation are taken into account. (Sixty percent of taxpayers should expect a tax increase of 4.29 percent or less.) A mill represents $1 in taxation for every $1,000 in taxable property value.

Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia said absentee voting for this referendum was slightly higher than in April, with 105 ballots issued, and 101 returned as of 9 am today.

Budget reductions incorporated a $150,000 cut to the municipal request and a $750,000 cut to the school district’s spending plan. 

The first round school budget failed by 482 votes with 1,994 supporting the request and 2,476 rejecting it; while the town proposal, which also contains all town capital debt service, failed by 66 votes — 2,207 endorsing the request with 2,273 voting No.

Response to new budget questions appearing on the ballots this year informed town leaders that both previous requests were too high, even though the text of the questions are phrased in the negative, asking voters if they voted No on separate budget proposals because they were “too low.”

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