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East Windsor Board of Finance Pares Proposed Budget to $34.1 mllion

The proposal would mean a 2.68 percent increase over the current budget. Voters on Tuesday rejected the first proposal, which was a 3.58 percent increase.

 

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.

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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.

 
Alan Baker May 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Dan, Voting hours for the referendum are set by state statute. After receiving many complaints it was looked into and we found that the board of selectmen could vote to change them. Unfortunately due to public notice requirements, there was not enough time to change it for the next budget referendum anyway, which is Tuesday, May 22. You can vote by absentee ballot though, you just need to go to the town clerk and pick one up. Hope that helps for the next referendum. Here's a link to instructions on how to obtain and cast an absentee ballot. http://www.eastwindsorct.com/Public_Documents/EWindsorCT_Clerk/S018B8077-018B80AF.0/May%2022,%202012%20Budget%20Referendum%20Absentee%20Ballot%20Information.pdf Here's a link to the latest proposed budget: http://www.eastwindsorct.com/Public_Documents/EWindsorCT_Financial/052212ReferendumBudget1.pdf
Dan Starvish May 22, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Al, town leaders never should of let the budget hours change. The change happened a few years ago, in the dark, to attempt to pass a budget behind the voters backs. This was before you were in office. Also, can you link me the state statute on the budget referendum times? I cant find it. I am voting no until all public safety agencies are properly funded.
Alan Baker May 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I had a paper copy which I have already recycled. I'll try to get another copy for you, or a link. I'm not sure how shortened hours guarantees a win or a loss on a budget vote. I would think the effect would vary from year to year. To me the shorter hours certainly means less votes, which quite possibly doomed the first budget vote, and gave us less of an idea on what people are feeling, besides general apathy.
Dan Starvish May 22, 2012 at 04:38 PM
When the hours were changed, the vote also moved to a Saturday that year. There is no reason, short of law, to not have our voting hours consistant with every other vote we hold at the polls. I am eager to see this statute, but really, because it can be over ridden, it should of been anyway. This shortened hours was not always the case, and I cant even find a news article for another CT town advertising a 12-8 vote on a budget. I can find plenty citing 6am-8pm though. I mean, I am sure there must be someone out there, but I cant find it. The clear majority is 6am-8pm http://www.theday.com/article/20120515/NWS01/120519778/-1/Zip06&town=Madison&template=NWS01zip06art http://eastgranbyct.org/new-town-meeting-and-budget-referendum-called-for-by-the-east-granby-board-of-selectman.html http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/x1035958238/Lisbon-budget-referendum-scheduled-for-today#axzz1vcKC6SPa http://clinton.patch.com/articles/town-budget-referendum-vote-tomorrow
Blink May 23, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Polling times (All States): Polls open 6 a.m. local time and close 8 p.m. local time. (CT. General Statutes 9-174).

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