A Village Funded By A Well-Balanced Budget
It takes a village to raise a child . . . but it takes a lot of moolah to make a village.
It is time for the villagers to determine just how much moolah is just right. Members of the various governing boards in Newtown have been crafting budgets that they feel are justified, and will maintain standards residents expect, as well as improve the quality of life enjoyed here. It is one for which these mostly volunteers will be on the receiving end of grievances as citizens pore over budget numbers that seem always to be larger than they care to see, so we thank them in advance for their dedication.
The proposed municipal budget for the next year is $43,211,955 (up 2.45 percent); the Board of Education approved a budget for 2020-21 of $79,201,776 (up 1.4 percent). Both budgets are based on recognized and perceived needs, with the spring referendum the determination as to whether residents agree or not.
A recent Board of Finance public hearing regarding the municipal budget attracted exactly zero public participants. The next public hearing, when the Legislative Council weighs in on the budgets, is tentatively scheduled for March 18. Hopefully, participation will greatly improve. We believe those we have elected — who live and work in Newtown — put forth their best efforts; but a finalized budget cannot reflect public opinion if concerns are not voiced when the opportunity presents.
Questioning the value of programs is our prerogative. Seek out information as to the positive outcomes of programs that you are unsure meet intended goals, or add to long-term improvements to our town and schools. Listen, read, and learn in order to come to a conclusion on what you can or cannot support in this year’s budget. Board and commission members are always willing to clarify issues; most can be addressed through newtown-ct.gov, or at newtown.k12.ct.us/board-of-education; and regular updates appear in this paper.
In pondering the municipal budget, keep in mind that some costs for this year are associated with items previously supported by a majority of voters. With the Senior Center and Community Center fully functioning and the police headquarters well on its way to an autumn opening, remember that there are operational costs associated with these facilities. Supporting those costs as were earned by the vote to build is a positive move.
Improvements to deteriorating roadways in Newtown is an expense not to be denied. Work done last year greatly improved a number of streets, and those who still suffer from pothole-riddled roads will be happy to see funds in this year’s budget to continue that good work.
There are many other points to consider, but our village is a good village of people raising standards rationally, and focusing on what makes Newtown a municipality worthy of the S&P AAA bond rate it hangs onto. Be aware, be proactive, and be mindful when considering the value of our schools and the character of our town.
And when the April referendum rolls around, be sure to vote!