Voters in Bridgewater will decide Friday, May 23, on a proposed $2.4 million municipal budget for fiscal year 2014-15.

Residents will make the call during a 7 p.m. town meeting at Burnham School.

The budget would represents a $100,098 increase over the current year.

A projected savings of $31,400 is estimated in the resident state trooper's contract at Bridgewater, now to be shared with neighboring Roxbury.

Insurance would decrease $7,808 and the legal defense fund would be reduced by $24,000.

"My goal has been to cut legal costs," said First Selectman Curtis Read. "Paul Garlasco has dropped all of his suits against the town and other suits have been resolved.

"You never know what can happen," he said, "but right now, I've cut the legal line in half."

Garlasco, a New Milford attorney and Bridgewater property owner, had embroiled the town and former First Selectman Bill Stuart in a series of legal suits during the previous four years, causing the town's legal fees to grow significantly.

The town's share of the Region 12 education budget would also decrease $311,531 from the present year due to declining student population.

The town's share of the regional education budget would be $4.7 million, bringing the total 2014-15 fiscal year budget for Bridgewater to $7.2 million.

That would be a reduction of $211,433 from the current year. The Region 12 budget was approved May 6.

Bridgewater's mill rate will be set during the May 23 meeting. This year's tax rate is 17.5 mills.

Read said on Monday he does not anticipate an increase in the mill rate, given the savings and reduction seen in projected 2014-15 spending.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322