At its public budget hearing held one week in advance of the Wednesday, May 24 budget referendum, the Board of Finance (BOF) heard an earful from residents, most concerned about the affects of a reduced schools budget on the town’s students. While some on the board sought to mitigate the cut, the board voted to move the reduced budgets to referendum unchanged.
Following the May 10 failure of both the town (1,542 votes for and 1,766 against) and schools (1,578 for and 1,725 against) budgets, the BOF made a one-percent cut to both budgets. On May 24, voters will be presented with a town budget of $17,537,690, a 1.42 percent increase over last year’s budget, and a Board of Education (BOE) budget of $34,420,452, a 4.03 percent increase over last year’s budget (this figure includes the onset of bonding costs for the new high school). Together these numbers represent a total proposed budget of $51,958,142, a 3.13 increase over last year’s budget.
The majority of speakers at the budget hearing were there to speak in support of the BOE budget. Several residents implored the BOF to put half a percent, or $150,000, back into the Board of Education budget.
A theme among the speakers was a fear of cutting teacher that would lead to increased class sizes and a negative affect it could have on the kids.
A point of emphasis for many of the speakers was the offense they took at a characterization of Clinton parents made on a YouTube channel run by BOF alternate Kirk Carr. A video of the April 12 budget hearing posted on Carr’s “Kirkxter” channel contained a description that read in part: “The tragic impact on lower income families and seniors is totally disregarded by the Board and the craven coven of parents, teachers, administrators and RINO football coach who exhibit profoundly depraved indifference to the plight of their most vulnerable neighbors...”
At the BOF meeting following the public hearing, a motion was made to add the $150,000 to the proposed BOE budget, but the motion failed to get enough votes to pass.
The town will hold a second budget referendum May 24. Eligible voters can vote in the Green Room at Town Hall from 6 a.m. to 8 P.m. Voters in the referendum must be a registered voter in the town or a person who owns a property or a vehicle assessed at more than $1,000. Absentee ballots are available online at clintonct.org.