Your Vote Is Your Voice
No one, any year, wants to see an increase in taxes; but particularly after a brutal year of pandemic restrictions and job losses, any increase will be felt by voters as one more blow.
A school budget of $79,697,698 and a municipal budget of $43,521,856, as large as they are, though, are blows softened as much as can reasonably expected and still maintain the quality of education and services expected by residents. A total budget increase is just 1.31%, as approved on April 7 by the Legislative Council, and this year's mill rate (one mill is equal to $1 per $1,000 of assessment) of 34.65 (a decrease of 0.3% over last year) will be presented to voters on April 27.
Newtown residents deserve a properly functioning government that includes human services, technology, public safety, and emergency services, as well as road and public building maintenance. To provide adequate resources that make this town attractive takes adequate funding. A “Yes” vote for this budget is a vote for stability and prepares a foundation for the future. It is a budget that we can support.
Three other referendum items on April 27 demand attention from voters: capital bonding authorizations for a $1.5 million gas boiler and LED lighting upgrade for the Reed Intermediate School; $3.7 million for a permanent Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial; and $5,041,933, which is the remaining balance on a local emergency radio and communications system upgrade.
As homeowners well know, continually putting off major updates and repairs can result in higher costs down the line. Replacing the boiler at RIS with a more efficient model will result in reduced costs, and LED lighting will do the same, benefiting taxpayers down the road.
Who can argue the value in having current technology that offers better protection to all citizens? It is a relief to know that upgrades in place have already alleviated some of the dangers associated with the aging system, when radio system failure compromised the wellbeing of citizens and responders. Complete funding will give us complete protection.
Opposition to the nearly $4 million for a permanent memorial honoring those killed on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook School is doubtful, though there will be voters weighing that cost in an economically challenging year. The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial has been a years-long process, with public support along the way. A history of how the cost of just under $4 million has been arrived at can be found on The Newtown Bee’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/watch?v=y22bqmuZdGY, or search past articles at newtownbee.com.
Residents need little reminder of that tragic day; but a tangible reminder to those who do not call Newtown home of how tragedy changes lives and changes communities provides enough reason to vote yes for this appropriation of funds — even in a difficult year.
Polls at Newtown Middle School open at 6 am, April 27, and close at 8 pm. Please wear a mask and practice physical distancing; contact the Town Clerk at 203-270-4210 for absentee ballot voting information.
Let your vote be your voice.