Residents voted Tuesday in favor of the Board of Finance’s 2019-20 budget proposal, which totaled about $103 million.
The May 21 referendum passed by 197 votes – 581 yes, 384 no – according to the office of the Town Clerk. Absentee ballots accounted for 8 yes and 3 no votes.
“It’s a zero tax increase and we’ve increased public safety at the same time,” Board of Finance chairman Richard Monico said Wednesday.
The Board of Finance was scheduled to set the mill rate at its May 22 meeting. It was proposed to stay the same at 31.18, which would have no effect on residents’ taxes.
Monico credited First Selectman Michael Freda’s growing of the grand list and planning for debt service with helping make the budget work this year.
As it has been the past few years, state funding was a “big unknown,” but this year’s budget process was one of the better ones, Monico said.
“The town, financially, is in great shape,” Monico said.
One of the most notable accomplishments of this budget, he said, is spending for communication improvements to the town’s emergency dispatch.
“With the grand list growing so much, we were able to bring 911 in-house, which is important,” Monico said.
The 2019-20 budget breaks down to municipal funds of $49,195,637 and a Board of Education budget of $54,590,313.
This proposal reflects a 4.9 percent increase from the current $98.9 million budget.
The Board of Education’s budget shows a 2.9 percent, or $1,537,477, increase from the previous year.
Capital expenses account for $936,000 of the total; an increase of 67 percent, or $377,000 from the previous year.
Voter turnout was the same as last year’s May budget referendum, which saw 5.7 percent of registered voters participate. Registrar of Voters Laurie Brangi said there are 16,959 eligible voters in town.
Last year, voters approved an almost $99 million budget by just 16 votes.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the capital expense increase was due to debt service.
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