Slim turnout approves budget Mayor Murphy: Now it's 'back to business'
Mayor Murphy: Now it's 'back to business'
The turnout was light and the budget tight but New Milford voters Tuesday approved town and schools budgets for 2010-11.
Unlike the nail-biter referendum May 18, the second balloting for a $90.42 million budget passed by a comfortable margin, albeit with almost 6 percent less voter turnout this time.
Nineteen percent of the town's registered voters cast 3,407 votes. The final tally was 2,395 for to 1,951 against the town budget, and 2,112 to 1,348 in favor of the school budget.
Education supporters' unhappiness with another $1 million reduction from the proposed school budget apparently did not resonate Tuesday with the majority of those who went to the polls.
The vote means the school budget remains the same as the last two years: $56.95 million. The town government portion is $33.48 million.
As soon as the last of the seven voting districts had reported in and it was obvious both the town and school budgets had passed in each, Mayor Patricia Murphy and Finance Director Ray Jankowski smiled and shook hands.
"I'm relieved,'' the mayor said. "Now we can get back to the business of running the town and the school and putting the dollars to good use.''
This proved to be a highly contentious budget season, with supporters and opponents attacking each other both in public and with behind the scenes politicking.
All things considered, resident Jay Lewin called this final version of the budget a "good thing.''
"The town is well served by not going through this a third time,'' Mr. Lewin said.
For results from the first referendum, the Brickley Room at Town Hall had been filled with town and school leaders. Last night, a handful of people awaited the results.
School leaders were absent because there was a Board of Education meeting at the same time.
School board members will now have to determine how to reduce their budget for the coming year by a total of $1.8 million from their original budget request.
Mayor Murphy said she hopes a lesson was learned from the battles over this budget: "Keep emotions in check and focus on the job at hand.''
"We're all here to get a job done and not attack each other,'' the mayor said. "It will do nicely if everyone remembers that for next year.''