Monroe closed the vote gap by nearly half yesterday, but still rejected the proposed spending plan for 2013-2014, sending the budget back to the drawing board before the third referendum on May 7. The final vote tally was 2067 yes votes and 2217 no votes.

The Honeywell project, a set of leases, rebates, and loans for energy upgrades, which should yield savings that will make the cost a net-zero to taxpayers, won approval, with an over 900 vote margin.

The two-week span between votes means that First Selectman Vavrek has a very tight timeline to determine how to proceed with the budget. Per Monroe’s charter, he can reduce, increase or leave the budget flat. Historically, a defeat has meant a reduction by the First Selectman, but there have been several occasions when the budget was presented to voters unchanged.

There will be no meeting of elected officials, boards and residents prior to this decision. Mr. Vavrek indicated after the vote tally came in last night that he would make a decision within a day or two, after having collaborated with town department heads and Mr. Agostine, Superintendent of Monroe Public Schools.

The budget, had it seen approval yesterday, would have represented a 2.17 % total spending increase. The schools budget would have seen an increase of 1.56 %, the town budget was at 5.09 %, and the mill rate would have been raised to 30.46. Due to increases in debt service and decreases in the grand list, the mill rate increase was 4.1 %.

The budget included a $200,000 reduction after the first referendum’s failure. Those reductions represented $100,000 off of the Board of Education budget and $100,000 off of the town budget.