North Haven budget passes with low turnout

North Haven budget passes with low turnout

Record-Journal
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Voter turnout was low, but the North Haven budget of $96,568,811 passed for fiscal year 2017-2018 on May 6. | Ken Liebeskind, The North Haven Citizen

With a low voter turnout – 5.1 percent – North Haven passed its budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year on May 16. Of those residents weighing in, 667 voted “yes” and 167 “no” for a budget that calls for $96,568,811 in total spending. The budget includes $51,648,899 for the Board of Education and $44,919,210 for the town government.

The budget passed with no tax increase, keeping the mill rate at 30.53.

First selectman Mike Freda, who oversaw the development of the town side of the budget with director of finance Ed Swinkoski, said, “I’m happy it passed. I’m not sure anyone can argue with no tax increase.”

Freda attributed the low turnout to the fact the town proposed a good budget. “Any time you have no tax increase, turnout will be low,” he said.

“The budget is a good thing for the students of the North Haven Public Schools,” superintendent of schools Robert Cronin said. “This budget will allow us to continue all of the work and improvement efforts we’ve been working on.”

A no tax increase budget was achieved after the town initially considered a budget that would have raised the mill rate by .45 and increased taxes on the average home by $94.20. “The budget has no tax increase because we grew the grand list, rolled over past surpluses from the last eight budgets and decreased cost on the insurance side by $1,228,000,” Freda said.

The insurance savings, which impacted the town and Board of Education budgets, were made possible when the town joined a self-insured consortium that reduces administrative costs.

The new budget maintains town services and increases funding for some, including the schools, which will benefit from the hiring of a director of Educational & Informational Technology.

“It’s a good thing, but all of us at the municipal level are faced with the daunting task of moving forward with the news we’re hearing out of Hartford about state budget cuts,” Freda said. “We passed our budget without knowing the end result regarding state revenue.”

State cuts in ECS school funding and LOCip and TAR town funding totaling $3.6 million have been reported.


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