The Budget Passes After Five Referendums

Relief flooded the faces of those who waited to hear the final results.

After four failed attempts, Newtown's 2012-13 budget has finally passed. Thirty-one percent of the town's 16,000 voters turned out today to cast their ballot and, in the end, there were 156 more yes votes -- 2,568 to 2,412. 

There were tears in the eyes of Debbie Leidlein, chairman of the Board of Education, as members of the Legislative Council and Board of Finance laughed and hugged when the results came in, announcing they were grateful they will not be coming back in three weeks.  

This was the fifth referendum, and one jubilant voter, Ali Legros, said she voted yes, “Because it was time to get these shenanigans over with.” 

Now that the vote has passed, it is expected there will be an announcement by the Board of Education about whether full day kindergarten will be available this fall.   

The $106,146,838 budget that passed includes the $68,355,794 education budget and represents a .69 percent tax increase. 

A happy but tired First Selectman Patricia Llodra said in a telephone interview, “I am very pleased we are through this challenge and we are looking forward to a change in the process next year.  Last night, the Legislative Council charged nine people with finding a strategy which could include a bifurcated budget or questions.  Clearly this process has taught us that we don’t have the kind of precision our voters need.” 

“I am relieved we are through the challenge," she added, "but there are a lot of challenges ahead.” 

Fred Ferraro November 19, 2012 at 08:41 AM
Thank you! I wasn't really aware of the problem until recently. I moved back to town to be closer to SCSU in New Haven while I was finishing my Masters Degree and my father informed me during conversation of just how much we were paying in taxes. It is literally out of control here, I can't believe expenditures as well as taxes have increased despite a weakened economy in which every other level of government is trying to decrease spending. I could ALMOST see the increase in revenue IF expenditures were decreasing or the town was in a bind but that doesn't seem to be the case. How can education spending be increasing despite a decrease in enrollment? It just makes no logical sense. What we need to do is get ourselves to the budget meetings and when the people approving these increases go up for election we need to get them out. I plan on trying to talk to as many people as I can and, come April (I believe) when they have the public budget meetings my father and I will be there.
Fred Ferraro November 19, 2012 at 08:44 AM
Not sure... did you support the measure. It seemed like a good idea to me, now we can decide if the general or education budget passes. While there are problems with the general budge, like the police, many of it seems reasonable and what isn't is minor. I think the major problem is the education budget. I am by no means anti-education I went to NHS, UConn and now am at SCSU but quality education doesn't need to be expensive.
Fred Ferraro November 19, 2012 at 08:49 AM
Agreed. We need to get them out and get people in who are fiscally responsible while still maintaining appropriate levels of government services. As I said, better doesn't mean more expensive. I want police, fire, EMS, roads, schools just like everyone else... I just think we can do it smartly. For a town of less than 30,000 people we seem to be taking in a lot as well as spending a lot, yet so many of us get so few services.. no water, swear, no tree maintenance near utility lines, delayed plowing, poor quality roads ec.
Sam Mihailoff November 19, 2012 at 08:51 AM
Fred, don't think you are two months late to the party...all the elves are busy with their wants list for the budget Santa...I did not say needs...WANTS Read, if you dare!!! http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/newtowneducation/
Fred Ferraro November 19, 2012 at 08:59 AM
I completely agree. I do not have children, nor do my parents in Newtown Schools. Though I graduated from NHS in '03 and my brother in '06 so we understand the need for school funding, but it is totally out of control. From what I've heard/seen from people in town the quality has not gone up since 2003 and yet more and more money keeps getting pumped into the schools at the expensive of improving, roads the water/waste water system, and all sorts of other services as well as sucking families dry with the increased taxes. Some taxes are need of course, but it is ridiculous how high they are. my family has lived here since 99 and our taxes have gone up and up every year eating up more and more of our income. If we knew what it would have been like back then I think we would have looked in other towns for new homes.


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