The voters have spoken. Newtown's proposed budget of $107.4 million has been turned down.
The Registrars of Voters office reports the following referendum results:
- 1,962 - Yes
- 2,560 - No
That is a turnout of 28% of total eligible voters. The Legislative Council will now have to go back to the drawing board.
What do you think needs to change for the budget to pass?
Steady Stream of Voters at Poll
Driving into Newtown Middle School one will see a man standing at the entrance with a sandwichboard sign that reads: "Enrollment - Down! Economy - Down! Taxes Up? Vote No!"
That man is Paul Ludanyi, 68, a 25-year resident of Newtown. "And it seems like every year it just keeps going up," Ludanyi says of the budget and his taxes, which last year cost him about $7,600.
Just up the street, at the heavily trafficked intersection of Queen Street and Church Hill Road, stand two women and one man, with signs that read: "Your Vote Counts. Vote Yes."
The trio is Kathey Fetchick, a Legislative Council member, and Board of Education members John Vouros and Laura Roche. "We worked hard on this budget. We want to see it pass ... to work toward the goals of the district," said Roche, who is vice chairman of the board.
And so goes the story as a steady stream of Newtown voters cast their ballot in a referendum that will decide the fate of a proposed $107.4 million budget.
"I think it's going to fail," says Republican Registrar of Voters Karin Aurelia during a phone interview at 1:15 p.m.
Ludanyi certainly hopes so. Alluding to his sign that also includes the phrase, "The Economy is Down," he shares how he was unemployed 10 months of last year and six the year before that. "Enough is enough," he says. "I am a senior citizen and would like to retire and stay in town with an affordable tax rate."
From what Aurelia's Democrat counterpart, LeReine Frampton, heard from someone out at the polls, there's been a lot of "No" votes. While Assistant Poll Moderator Will Frampton didn't have the breakdown of votes, he reported at about 12:30 p.m. that more than 1,500 votes had been cast -- that's of the 15,983 registered voters in Newtown.
Ludanyi, who had been at the middle school since before 7 a.m., says he's seen a steady stream of voters; many of them appeared to be receptive to his message, he notes.
If the budget fails by simple majority a new vote would be held about two weeks from now, on a Tuesday -- most likely May 8, Aurelia says.
There is support for the budget, though. One woman who was carrying a toddler in her arms had voted yes, because she wants all-day kindergarten.
Aurelia expects results to begin rolling in around 9 p.m., an hour after polls close. Patch will bring you updates as they are available.
On the Republican Primary front, Aurelia says she is expecting turnout to be "dismal," in large part due to the fact that it falls on the same day as the referendum -- something that requires a number of voters to cast ballots at two locations -- not to mention Romney pretty much has the party nomination in the bag.
That inconvenience of having to vote in two places was the main painpoint of Republican voters, Frampton says.
The Original Report Follows:
Newtown Republican Registrar of Voters Karin Aurelia has a busy day ahead of her. She plans on being in the office by 5:15 a.m. and other than a quick trip to to vote, will likely not be home till after 10 p.m.
It's usually only a couple times a year that Aurelia and her Democrat counterparts have such a long day, and today's budget referendum in Newtown is one of them. Polls open at 6 a.m. and residents will be able to cast a vote for or against the town budget up until 8 p.m. The question on the ballot:
SHALL THE SUM OF $107,806,523 BE APPROPRIATED AS THE ANNUAL TOWN BUDGET FOR THE 2012-2013 FISCAL YEAR?
The proposed budget of $107.4 million carries with it an estimated mill rate of 24.94.
For more background on the budget, including coverage from Board of Education and Town Council hearings, as well as insight into departmental spending, check out the Newtown Budget 2012 Topic Page we created.
The middle school is located at 11 Queen Street, for all voting districts. Absentee ballots will also be counted there beginning at 6 p.m., according to a Legal Notice.
The weather forecast for today is partly cloudy with temperatures reaching into the mid-50s.
Republican Primary is Today, Too
While Rick Santorum is out and Mitt Romney is the front-runner, Republican voters will have their choice today between four candidates in the Presidential Primary:
- Mitt Romney
- Newt Gingrich
- Ron Paul
- Rick Santorum
Wondering where to vote for today's primary? You can find out by typing your street name in at this website.
Newtown Patch will be updating this article throughout the day with coverage from the polls.
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