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East Windsor Wakes Up To Approved FY13 Budget, Tax Rate

It took three tries at the polls, but taxpayers have approved a $33.9 million municipal budget for 2012-13 fiscal year.

East Windsor residents have a 2012-13 budget today after being called to the polls on three different occasions over the past month to register their opinion on the proposed spending and revenue plan.

Up until 7:57 p.m., a steady stream of voters trickled into the Town Hall polling location, hoping to push the results in their favor.

In the end, the referendum passed by 163 votes, 568 to 405, but fewer people came out to vote when compared with the previous two occasions.

Board of Finance members didn’t waste any time Tuesday night and met immediately, and briefly, to set the tax rate.

Based on the 1.97 percent increase in spending and the town’s revenue projections, along with a few other factors, the tax rate increased by 0.35 mils to 24.73. For East Windsor residents, this will mean a "very modest tax increase," finance board Chairman Jason Bowsza said.

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"It is lower than it would have been if the 2 percent had passed. It is the best deal the voters could have gotten,” he said referring to a clause in the town charter that would have required an across the board 2 percent increase if voters had defeated the budget for a third time.

The budget includes $13.73 million for the general government and $20.17 million for education, a 3.39 percent in school spending when compared with the current year.

After the results were announced, Selectman Dale Nelson said that he was glad that the budget finally passed.

"I was hoping that we would get the 2 percent increase. The town side would have made out better, but the Board of Education would have taken a hit.  I think the voters spoke," he said.

"[The town] started out at .9 percent," First Selectman Denise Menard said. "We cut an emergency generator for capitol improvement and that brought it down to .3 percent."

After the second vote failed, Menard said the town wasn't asked to further decrease their request further.

Being the third time that the budget was presented to voters at a referendum, town officials said that the turnout was noticeably lower on Tuesday.

"We saw a pretty broad spectrum of voters throughout the day," Dan Nadeau, the Democratic Registrar of Voters said, adding, "we saw different people today."

On Tuesday, 973 registered voters came to the polls, while last time it was closer to 1,400.

"We may have had a more informed population today," Nadeau said.

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