According to results released by Democratic Registrars of Voters LeReine Frampton, the Newtown electorate overwhelmingly supported a ballot question to revise the charter so residents will now vote separately on education and municipal budget requests.
Still, the number of votes cast on the ballot question represented a small percentage of actual voters who turned out to the polls yesterday, with verall turnout estimated to be about 80 percent. The tallies for the ballot question are:
- Yes: 831
- No: 212
Votes on the separate budget requests will be binding, so if one passes, only the other would be put back to a vote. Furthermore, the vote will include questions that are designed to help inform town and school officials' decisions about how to revise a budget request, if it in fact fails.
The original reports follows:
Picking candidates they want to represent them isn't the only decision Newtown voters will have to make today. Each voter will also be asked a ballot question whether they think the town should adopt a bifurcated budget, in which votes would be cast separately for the education budget and the town budget.
The proposed change to the Town Charter came about after consideration by a committee as a means to avoid a drawn-out budget approval process like the town experienced this year, when it took five times to adopt a budget.
Each voter will be supplied with a piece of paper in the voting booth that explains the ballot question. The base text of the ballot question reads as follows:
Approval of this question will modify Section 6-14a, b & c of the Charter to provide that the Annual Budget will be voted on in two parts; one for the Town budget, and one for the Board of Education budget. In the event one question fails and one is adopted, the question which passes will be considered adopted. Any failed question or questions will be resubmitted to the voters of the Town by means of successive referenda until passed by a majority of those voting. The present Charter language, which requires that the failed budget be submitted to a Town Meeting after two failed referendums, is eliminated.
Approval of this question will also provide for two advisory non-binding questions to be placed on the ballot as follows:
“Do you deem the proposed sum of $___ to be appropriated for the Board of Selectmen as too low?”
“Do you deem the proposed sum of $___ to be appropriated for the Board of Education as too low?”