[Note from Regional Editor Gary Jeanfaivre: This article has been updated so that it accurately reflects its authors and the process by which budget reductions were made. Newtown Patch regrets the errors and apologizes to our readers. If anyone has any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at 203-556-0777 or firstname.lastname@example.org]
Voters will be turning out today to vote on the fifth budget recommended by the Legislative Council. The total budget amount voters will consider is $106,146,838, of which $68,355,794 is the Board of Education budget.
While many residents have been calling for a bifuracted budget that would allow them to vote on the town and education budgets separately, that will not happen this year. The concept could be under review in a Charter Revision Committee.
In one of the most drawn out budget year's Newtown has experienced, the Board of Education budget was cut by $1 million dollars after the failure of the first budget referendum on April 24. The Board of Finance had already reduced the Board of Education budget on March 14 by $700,000 in contract negotiations, medical insurance, and a dramatic reduction in commodity prices, according to the Chairman of the Board of Education Debbie Leidlein.
but the Legislative Council interpreted the significant no vote to mean the voters wanted a decrease to the budget.
On May 15, the second budget referendum represented a 1.28% tax increase to taxpayers, and went down in failure by 77 votes.
The Legislative Council then unanimously approved reducing the fund balance expense by $200,000 and did not make any other adjustments.
On June 5th, the third budget failed by 114 votes. The Legislative Council then passed a budget that took $240,000 from a fund balance and give the Board of Education $200,000 of it to be used for capital projects, and reduced the Selectmen’s budget by a net of $120,000 after they were given $40,000 from the fund balance to use.
On June 26, the fourth referendum failed,
in 2010, it took three tries to pass the budget. The voter turnouts for the first two rounds were 24 percent and 29 percent, respectively. It finally passed with a 31 percent turnout.
It remains to be seen if this budget will be defeated yet again, or if it will finally stand.
Patch will be bringing you updates from the poll and also provide the result as soon at it is available.