After struggling to find places to make reductions, the East Windsor Board of Finance Thursday approved a $34.138 million 2012-13 budget to present to voters at a second referendum.
The budget represents a 2.68 percent increase over the current $33.247 million spending plan. The proposal would mean a 0.56 mill increase in the tax rate, officials said. The second budget referendum will be on May 22.
Voters on Tuesday the board’s first proposed $34.438 million budget by a 2 to 1 margin.
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Board Chairman Jason Bowsza said he and the rest of the board don’t look at the No votes as malicious votes.
“There are people in this town who can’t afford it and we recognize that,” Bowsza said. “We’re looking at it as, if you oppose what we put forward that just means we have to work harder.”
In order to pare the budget, board members decided to reduce the board of education budget by $170,000 and cut funding for an emergency generator at .
Board Secretary Joseph Pellegrini said the board has to concerned with the people who came out to vote down the proposed budget on Tuesday.
“None of us sitting at this table are overjoyed at making cuts,” Pellegrini said.
Selectman Alan Baker proposed cutting the funding for the generator saying the amount would leave a lot of other things whole in the budget. Baker said the proposal for the generator is to address something that may be a need, while other portions of the budget are needs.
Selectwoman Dale Nelson objected to cutting out the generator saying it allow the high school to be a place during an emergency where food can be cooked, people can take showers and have a place to stay.
“This is something we have to do,” Nelson said. “We have to give the citizens a place to go in an emergency.”
Board Member Donnelle Godeck said the public voted against the budget.
“The town can’t have it if you don’t have the money,” Godeck said.
At a public hearing before the board’s budget workshop, residents gave varied opinions about why the budget was rejected and the town should proceed.
Josh Kapelner, a Brookwell Court resident and economic development commission member, said he was greatly concerned that the residents were presented with an unrealistic budget that board members hoped no one would notice or care about.
Kapelner said for instance when the board of education proposed a 6.5 percent increase, board of finance members should have said they would like nothing more to do that but the residents and businesses can’t afford it.
Richard Morrison, a Willow Circle resident, said the voters don’t get enough information about what the town is doing. He said elderly residents are concerned about tax increases.
“You want input,” Morrison said. “Tell department heads to bring in a 3 percent decrease from what they had.”
Sharon Muska, an East Road resident, said the only avenue residents have to get elected officials attention about the government is to deny them funds. Muska said feels the voting hours (noon to 8 p.m.) may have disenfranchised people who couldn’t make those times.
Charlie Madison, a Main Street resident, said he was trying to figure out why the budget was voted down. He said 3.5 percent was not a big increase and that people will pay that kind of increase at the gas pum.
Madison said that amount is not enough to cover everything the town needs.