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Budgets pass in New Milford and Brookfield

May 22, 2019

Voters in Brookfield and New Milford easily approved their budgets on the first attempts Tuesday.

It’s a change from last year when both towns faced the macroburst as polls closed, as well as failed budgets. It also took three tries for both towns to approve a budget last year.

Here’s a look at this year’s results:

New Milford

Voters approved the more than $103 million town and schools budgets.

The $39 million town budget passed 1,655 to 741, with all of the precincts approving it. The $64 million schools budget passed 1,505 to 900, with District 4, or the Gaylordsville precinct, rejecting it. But the margin wasn’t large enough to defeat the entire budget.

“I’m happy we can move forward and we can continue with the people’s business,” Mayor Pete Bass said.

The adopted budget is a combined $1 million more than the current budget, due to the schools’ increase. The budget includes some items Town Council had previously cut that the Board of Finance restored last month.

The Board of Finance restored $400,000 to the schools budget after the Town Council cut the request by about $1 million. This means the Board of Education budget is about $1 million more than the current year, though still less than the board’s request of $64.4 million. The town budget is about $21,000 less than the current year.

The finance board put the town attorney position back into the budget and removed the money added for legal services that would have filled the gap of the in-house position.

Brookfield

Officials were still awaiting numbers from the Huckleberry Hill Elementary School precinct at deadline but the results indicated the $26 million town budget, $44 million schools budget and $3.5 million capital budget all passed. Even if the Huckleberry Hill precinct rejected the spending plans, the results would not have defeated the budgets.

This budget raises spending by 5.18 percent and increases the tax rate by 2.87 percent.

“It shows that the town is in favor of the path we’ve been taking over the past few years,” First Selectman Steve Dunn said. “I think the residents saw we put out a well-thought-out and judicious budget.”

The municipal operations cost is $18.8 million. The town’s budget also includes $5.2 million for debt service, $130,000 for teacher retirement and $1.8 million for capital projects that’s separate from the $3.5 million of capital projects on the ballot by itself.

Money to replace various trucks and to pave the parking lots at the high school and middle school are among the projects in the capital plan.

Both the selectmen and school board proposals were cut by the finance board before heading to voters.

About $59,000 was cut from the selectmen’s proposal and the school board’s request was cut by about $384,000, but school spending would still rise by just over 3 percent from the previous year.

kkoerting@newstimes.com; 203-731-3345

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