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Newtown Budget Fails Again by 19 Votes

The Legislative Council will convene again to decide on a 5th budget to put in front of the voters.

 

Newtown’s fourth budget referendum has failed once again. It’s been over two months since the first budget vote in April and the Legislative Council still has not put forth a budget that Newtown voters will approve.

This failed budget would have been a .9% increase to Newtown taxpayers. Two distinct groups of voters combined to narrowly defeat this budget for the fourth time. One group advocates “no” increase in the budget and the other group advocates adding more to the education budget. 

This presents a dilemma for the Legislative Council. They will again deliberate Wednesday evening to recommend yet another budget for the town. 

The first vote on Newtown’s 2012-2013 budget referendum took place on April 24th and represented a 2.34% tax increase. 

The Legislative Council interpreted the significant no vote to mean the voters wanted a decrease to the budget so one day after the initial budget referendum failed they voted 10 - 1 to decrease the education side of the budget by $1 million. 

On May 15th the budget referendum, which now represented a 1.28% tax increase to taxpayers, 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. This resulted in more voters who wanted money added back to the education budget to advocate a no vote. 

On June 5th the third budget failed by 114 votes so the Legislative Council then passed a budget that took $240 thousand from a fund balance and give the Board of Education $200 thousand of it that could 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.  

The voters defeated this budget today by 19 votes.  

The Legislative Council will meet at 7:30pm  in the Board Room of the Municipal Center Wednesday evening to further discuss the 2012- 2013 budget. 

Realist June 28, 2012 at 05:06 PM
As I said before. Even with a zero increase, cuts are not going to be the cuts you want. It's politics. As we have now seen a $200000 cut from the town side which is great, but there's still no accountability which is what you're looking for. When are you all going to realize the harsh reality of this game you're all playing. any more cuts will come from education after this, and there still won't be any accountability. It's time to vote yes before any harm is done.
Paul Alexander June 28, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I am trying to wait for the article, but is the bottom line that the LC funded RECURRING budget items in the school budget using NON-RECURRING revenue moved from the town budget? That would complete insanity if true.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com June 28, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Realist a lot of harm has already been caused to the education program. The municipal cuts have almost all come out of non-operational areas, savings accounts, so it really has not been cut at all.
Jackson June 28, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I would like to know where all the concerned education supporters where when the Reed school was in turmoil last year over excessive assemblies and cuts in class times. All I want is for my kids to attend classes all day and not waste time watching in class movies. Where were they when the school administrators hired a lawyer rather than talk with the BOE. How much money was wasted on lawyers and consultants by the school administration. I think that there are many lazy people on this thread who only want to complain but really do not even know the problem. "Hey I paid alot of money it must be good".
Jackson June 28, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Do not worry about the teachers. Newtown is forming a unit of volunteers to help in emergencies. Where will the Town get the money for the training aids, materials, and equipment which will include helmets, badges and first aid kits. I can do this for free. Get the numbers of the local Boy Scout troops.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com June 28, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Some valid points. Did you know that on the municipal side the town paid Cohen and Wolf and Mr.Grogins a million dollars, that's $1,000,000, during a 24 month period.It has been years, if ever, that the town has bid that service.We should have two law firms representing the town to avoid perceived conflicts of Interest. Cohen and Wolf and Mr.Grogins also represents Claris Construction.
Wayne Addessi June 28, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I am suggesting that a forum be proposed as “open mic” town hall style forum where folks can ask questions and hear answers to legitimate questions and concerns. After 4 failed referendums it would very refreshing to engage our town officials. Also in an attempt to manage such a forum respectfully a small group of volunteer moderators specifically appointed would take notes and sort out some real concerns folks may have. I'm calling for real engagement not just chatter that I see some here engaging in.
James June 29, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Great idea Bob, waste more money building police department. Yeah that's going to attract families and business to Newtown. What Planet do you live on ?
Teacher June 29, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I have been here 10 years, and while my overall courseload (student numbers) has increased in that time by about 20 total (my first year I had 100, this coming year I have about 122 so far), my individual student load for certain courses has raised dramatically. For example, there used to be only four sections of one of the courses I teach, now there are 6, possibly 7, for this coming year. We used to have two teachers teaching it, now we have three, but the student load (and there is a TON of grading for that class) is astronomical. I had 19 of those students my first year, and this coming year I'm up past 52 and counting. There are other factors here (de-leveling, parents overriding recommendations into Honors and AP courses...I could go on...that's a whole other post), but that's my experience. Also, even though teachers are evidently the bad guys in this all of the sudden, I am going to speak up for us and say...we are 2nd to bottom in our DRG for teacher salary. We are 2nd to the top for administrator salary. I'm not hating on the admins...they do a crazy amount of work...however, that should be a red flag for voters. The contract is coming up for negotiations and, frankly, we were dealt a very raw deal in the last one. We're negotiating from a pretty deep hole now. I was okay taking a cut last time, but look around. The economy is improving, especially in Newtown. Why should I have to sacrifice my family's income to do a job I love?
Teacher June 29, 2012 at 03:46 PM
S.Q. -- I am sorry I used language that offended you. But, frankly, I find it offensive that you find it completely acceptable to come on here and brag about how much money you make (I'm so sorry you're paying at least two times more in taxes than I make in a year educating the children of this community) and, in the same breath, how little you want to contribute to providing services to this town. We can have a political difference about contributing to the overall betterment of society, but you make it personal with your rhetoric. I'm glad you were able to prepare your children for first grade on your own, but what about the parents who don't have those resources, either educationally, time-wise, or financially? Please just re-read what you said and think for a minute. You can't see how I would be offended by your statements?
Paul Alexander June 29, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Teacher, What a load of self-serving, whining drivel. Try life in the "Produce more with less, or else" private sector. There is no "or else” in your protected public sector world AND you've got a Union backing you up. Nice try but zero sympathy for you.
Realist June 29, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Why all the nastiness. Just because someone has a different opinion to you. I'm sick of you and your handful of cronies bullying everyone on here.
taxpayer June 29, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Teacher said,"Also, even though teachers are evidently the bad guys in this all of the sudden, I am going to speak up for us and say.." Never said teachers are the bad guys. Not sure I am reading that in most of the responses here either. Teacher said, "..... I am going to speak up for us and say...we are 2nd to bottom in our DRG for teacher salary. We are 2nd to the top for administrator salary." You are correct. This does throw a red flag up for me. However, raising the taxes and arbitrarily throwing more money into the budget does not mean you get more of that money. I continue to say that we are top heavy here and there needs to be some changes. I would rather get rid of some of the admins., give more power to the teachers and give them the raises. The entire system needs to be revamped. We need to stop putting bandaids on a gushing wound.
taxpayer June 29, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Nastiness Realist??? Hey pot the kettle is calling, ..."And to the idiots that keep crying About FDk. It only cost 200k after the midday bus run. This is nothing. Get your facts right, and realize maybe it's you that needs to move." So, according to you the folks that don't see FDK as a need are idiots and should move??? Hmmmm, it would appear they just have a different opinion than you.
Teacher June 29, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Paul, how is it self-serving or whiny for me to want to provide the best education to my students, work for a salary WAY lower commensurate to education and certification, than I would get in this so-called "private sector" of yours, and to ask for a decent wage and work conditions? You keep talking about this private sector and all these people who are on the chopping block, doing more with less, etc. Do you think that all my friends are in public sector unions? My husband, family members, and many friends, all work in the private sector. They have gotten bonuses, raises, and increases in benefits that have FAR outpaced mine since I started in Newtown. I used to work in the private sector, as well. I worked in one place for four years and my salary went up by almost 50% in that time, due to my dedication, hard work, and efficiency. So why don't YOU save your self-serving whining for people who don't know any better.
Paul Alexander June 29, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Then go back to the private sector for the compensation. I know a public school teacher who is now a corporate trainer. Making more money and just as happy. OR, stay teaching in public school for the job satisfaction but accept the lower compensation. Stop demanding that taxpayers pay you a private sector wage in the public sector.
Teacher June 29, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I don't expect a private sector wage. I expect a fair wage. I don't think that's too much to ask. Don't you think we should have good people teaching? We're never going to attract those people without a fair wage. That's all I'm saying.
jms63 June 29, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Teacher: Your salary did not go up 50% in whatever amount of years because of your hard work and dedication. It went up because of profits - dollars and cents. That is the ONLY reason ANYONE in the private sector gets a bonus or a raise. So get off your high horse and think that it was your sheer talent that enabled your salary to grow. And as you have been advised - if that is what you want - you need to LEAVE PUBLIC EDUCATION because the $ isn't there. The residents can't carry your expectations on their backs anymore along with all the bloat from the town side.
Scott June 30, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Reduce the budget below last year, then I will vote less. I'm sorry if excellent teachers or others have to look for work elsewhere. I don't pay taxes to they can enjoy employment. I pay taxes for service required for my town and neighbors. When you have a budget over 100 million dollars for a small population town, it needs to be reduced (dramatically). When you shopping with my money, buy smart.
Scott June 30, 2012 at 02:29 AM
"Fails Again by 19 Votes" - this dimishes the fact that 2108 voted NO. More than half of the active voters who don't like their money wasted came out to say NO. It the increase is so miniscule - under 1%, then cut last years budget by 1%. Why that is so little, hardly anyone would notice...
Mary Ann Jacob July 02, 2012 at 10:26 AM
I would encourage anyone who has open questions to meet with our First Selectman. In addition to normal office hours, she has posted these extended hours to provide answers to the voters. Don't rely on what might be inaccurate information to make your decision. Extended Office Hours at the Municipal Center.   The First Selectman has scheduled extended office hours in order to meet with any resident who has questions or concerns about budget proposed by the Legislative Council due for referendum on July12. The notice of the extended office hours has also gone to the chair and vice chair of the Legislative Council, Board of Finance, and Board of Education with an invitation to be present if they so choose to also respond to resident questions. As least some of those board members will be available along with Mrs. Llodra to answer questions and hear concerns.   Sunday, July 1, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Friday, July 6, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, July 7, 2:00 – 3:00 Monday, July 9, 5:00 – 6:30 Tuesday, July 10, 5:00 – 6:30 Wednesday, July 11, 5:00 – 6:30
Alex Tytler July 02, 2012 at 10:38 AM
OK, first question. What would it take for you to put up a zero % budget increase, and why didn't you do it 3 votes ago?
Mary Ann Jacob July 02, 2012 at 11:17 AM
I can only speak for myself Alex. I clearly heard voters say the budget was too high after the first referendum and fully supported a significant reduction of $1,000,000 as a result. Subsequent results have been very close and indicated to me we were close to where the voters wanted us to be. I respect and understand the voices that cannot or are not willing to support any increases. But they are not the only voices and I am hopeful Newtown voters can spport a compromise that reduces the municipal budget below zero and gives a minimal increase of 0.57% to the school system. The current tax increase for an average tax bill of $8000 is $55. Each voter has to decide for themselves if they are willing and able to support that based on the quality of life they want and the services they are willing to support. If this vote fails, I imagine there will be further reductions and I think that would begin to erode the quality of services I personally value.
Alex Tytler July 02, 2012 at 11:43 AM
"If this vote fails, I imagine there will be further reductions" I thought that after vote 2, vote 3, and vote 4, and I'll probably think it after vote 5 and vote 6. One of these times i'll be right. You are representing people Mary Anne. It is your duty to do what they want done, not what you want done.
Len Destin July 02, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I have to agree - at what point and after how many failed votes does 'clearly hearing' the voters turn into 0%? Saying "its only $55" is an insult after a progressive 35% increase in taxes (over the last 6 years) in this town.
JED July 03, 2012 at 01:01 AM
The fat needs to be trimmed from the school system ie how many principals and assistant principals does ONE school need! Get rid of some of the Chiefs and put the funds back into helping the teachers and students. Ask the First Select person ( love the political correct ) why contracts for road drains do not include resurfacing? Due the budget not passing, one town road has been patched but will have to be DUG UP and RESURFACED at a later date when the budget passes and funds are available. Who would agree to an open ended contract? How much more waste is being pooh-poohed and deflected from the people?
Rodney Munos July 03, 2012 at 03:18 AM
My tax bill is 8000, way too high, I am self employed and lucky to save that kind of money to hand over to the town to be wasted, my phone is not ringing , no work, property values are like in 1997, why did we make living in Newtown so expensive, it's killing us all, the taxes should go down not up, enough with the lies and wasted money, cut the fat, 2 million per week is a huge amount of money, why you need more ?
Rodney Munos July 11, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Just think about if the budget passes on Thursday, the town wins, they always get what they want, increase in the budget by half a percent or so to ridiculous 106 million, crazy 2 million every week. The other people who vote no last 4 times, are completely ignored, Be warned, double dip recession is here and it will be worse then 08, why would you spend more money running the town if you don't have to? Why ?Can anyone explain to me why you need to spend more then 2 million a week? This is ABSURD. I think the town leadership needs to change, this is a perfect time to do it, smaller government, less services, less waste ! Let's face the facts here, you know that they will want more money again next year !
Gina Wessen August 26, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Would like to get your input about the tone of the "Accountability In Newtown" FB Group, and whether you think it helps or hurts the town. Please chime in at the new "Accountability in Newtown CT (Open and Uncensored)" FB Group here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/359442710803141/
Jodie September 01, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Please respond to the real Gina (Donna Boyce) at the link below: The corresponding "referring URL to Gina's Profile Picture is: https://www.facebook.com/po.murray/friends?ft_ref=mini Donna Boyce: http://www.donnaboyce.com/Why_Call_Donna/page_566782.html

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