Editorials


No Need To Be An April Fool

Published: April 04, 2019 at 04:30 pm

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We have just celebrated April Fool’s Day this past Monday, a day of tom-foolery, jokes, and hijinks. Pranks played with no malicious intent can have a spirit-raising effect on the prankee (a new word coined here, perhaps) and the prankster. We all know that laughter is good medicine.

No one wants to be the fool, though, where finances are concerned. That is why this paper has been bringing you budget breakdowns since the beginning of the year. From the Newtown Schools Superintendent’s initial report to presentation to the Legislative Council, we have brought forward the reasonings offered for presenting what is undeniably not a small amount of money to fund our schools. The request for voter approval of a $78,104,410 school budget demands that answers are provided. Our reporting has brought you the facts, insights from educators and administration, and deliberations of the Board of Education each step of the way.

We have followed the journey of the municipal budget, as well, from the Board of Selectmen’s first thoughts to the final numbers that voters will consider at the town referendum on April 23. How a municipal budget is crafted, where that money goes, the health of current spending practices, and budget workshops were chances to get to the nitty-gritty of all it takes to make a town run smoothly. It takes a lot of money to operate a town and a lot of money to operate good schools. Elected members of the Board of Education, Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, and Legislative Council have deliberated over budgets to determine the cost of living in Newtown; you found comments and thoughtful insights in our pages as offered by many of them, working to craft what they hope is a fair budget.

Acknowledging that operational money is nothing to fool with, a resident-hosted “New Town Meeting” invited the public and town officials for a conversation, March 7, to weigh in on this year’s budgets, with another planned for April 9 at the C.H. Booth Library.

Town meetings have been public events, providing insight into the cuts and spending, the needs and wants of a growing town, that add up to the $42,207,726 municipal budget recommended this year. We have been happy to report on these important conversations, and complete budget information for the March 20 hearing was posted in our paper.

No one is fooling anyone. Newtown is an expensive place in which to live. We rely on the good judgement of others to produce a budget that is sound, that does not place an additional burden on the working poor or senior citizens, that indicates an understanding that moving forward does not have to mean moving residents beyond their means.

On April 23, registered voters will determine Newtown’s path for the coming year. There is still time to educate yourself about the budgets and to address town officials regarding your concerns.

There is no reason for any resident of Newtown to be an April Fool when sitting down to vote. The referendum is coming. It’s no laughing matter.

 

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