Budget Passes By 30

Last year, for the first time in 17 years, voters also approved the budget on the first try — although the margin of victory was much wider that than it was this year. Monroe had earned a reputation for having multiple budget referendums, and Board of Finance members have said they are hoping to change that as one way to help boost the town’s credit rating.

This year’s $78.61 million budget passed at Stepney Elementary (District 2) and Masuk High (District 4), but was defeated at Fawn Hollow (District 1)  and Monroe Elementary (District 3).

Voter turnout was lower than in recent years. This year’s 24.6% turnout compares to 29.1% in 2011, 41.9% in 2010, and 42.5% in 2009.

The fiscal year 2012-13 budget takes effect July 1 and will represent an overall spending increase of 2.1%. The mill rate will increase 1.63%, from 28.79 to 29.26.

The Board of Education budget will remain flat at $51.43 million, although the school board had requested a $1.79% spending increase and may be able to fund that level of increase by tapping into two internal school accounts.

The town side of the budget will increase 8.44% to $19.14 million.

The tax increase means someone whose property is assessed at $200,000 will have their taxes go up by $94 to $5,852, and someone whose property is assessed at $400,000 would have their taxes go up by $188 to $11,704. Property is assessed at 70% of market value in Connecticut.

The approved budget includes $210,000 to begin paramedic-level service by the EMS on Oct. 1, and $2 million to continue the road paving program, shifting some more of that cost to the operating budget from bonding.

The budget will mothball the Chalk Hill building at a savings of $272,000, and will not fund the $24,000 part-time economic development director’s position that Vavrek had put in his initial proposal.

The current 2011-12 budget that was approved a year ago had a 0.35% spending increase — including a flat budget for the school board — and a 1.88% tax increase. The current budget was approved in April 2011 by a 57% to 43% margin.

The budget process involves the first selectman, Board of Education, Town Council and BOF, with the final proposal put before voters having been decided by the BOF.

For more information see Monroe Courier.


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