New Milford budget heads to referendum
NEW MILFORD — Voters will decide on the more than $103 million budget for the town and schools in a referendum next week.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 21.
This year marks the first time the school and town budgets will be voted on independently in the referendum.
The two budgets will still be voted on separately, but because of the recent charter revisions, only the rejected budget will need to be changed. Previously, both the town and school budgets would go back to the Town Council for changes, even if only one failed.
The spending plan voters will decide on allocates about $39 million for the town side and about $64 million for the schools. It is a combined $1 million more than the current budget, due to the schools’ increase. The budget also includes some items Town Council had previously cut that the Board of Finance added back last month.
The Board of Finance added $400,000 back to the schools budget after the Town Council cut the request by about $1 million. This means the Board of Education budget is about $1 million more than the current year, though still less than the board’s request of $64.4 million. The town budget is about $21,000 less than the current year.
At the time, several council members said they cut the schools by that amount because it didn’t look like the state was going to give that money to New Milford.
The finance board also added the town attorney position back into the budget and removed the money added for legal services that would have filled the gap of the in-house position.
The budget going before voters also includes about $174,000 more in state revenues.
The school board had already cut $423,000 from the superintendent’s proposal before sending it on to Town Council. This included removing capital projects, an assistant principal at Sarah Noble Intermediate School and a director of curriculum and instruction.
It does include a new special education position to oversee the K-5 levels, as well as removing pay to play.
The biggest reasons for the increase are personnel costs and transportation, as well as less state revenue.