2017-07-14 / Letters

Budget defeat becoming standard procedure

To the editor:

Another school budget defeated, soundly this time by 57 percent of the voters.

Reaction by the board of education and town council – shock.

This in a town that probably has the record for number of budget defeats over the past few years. Might this suggest that their underlying premise needs changing?

One Town One Budget, while a nice sounding slogan, is false.

There are in fact, three budgets: County (little or no say over), municipal (voted and approved by town council) and the school (voted by the citizens).

Our elected officials like to misdirect the voters by talking exclusively about the town’s overall mil rate, estimated recently at 3.5 percent which combines all three budgets.

Setting aside the county budget the municipal budget is approximately 33 percent and the school budget 66 percent of the remaining spending.

Again the voters only vote on the school budget.

Some elected officials like to say you cannot breakout the school budget. Wrong. The school budget is funded from three sources, state, federal and local taxpayer funds.

The public’s vote is simply on how much in local tax dollars are to be raised for schools. The signs reading 7.4 percent simply were pointing out the fact that taxpayers were being asked to contribute 7.4 percent more than last year.

As of the June 21, council meeting they have taken what they consider a bold step: They have cut the school budget by $236,000 and the municipal budget has been cut.

Therefore, local taxpayers are being asked to contribute 6.8 percent more for schools. They have cut the increase by .6 percent from the 7.4 percent defeated by 57 percent of the taxpayers.

What is never publicized is every time the school budget is voted down, the council cuts the municipal budget.

For straightforward information on forming an opinion on the school budget please visit www.smartaxes.com.

Larry Hartwell

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