MONROE, CT — Townspeople approved a $96.7 million town budget proposal by a vote of 917 to 706 Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Registrars Office, during a referendum in which over 87 percent of eligible voters stayed home.
“I’m very grateful to the voters of Monroe for showing confidence in this budget,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said at Town Hall Tuesday night. “It’s a very solid budget and I’m also very grateful for the hard work of our department heads, the Town Council, Board of Finance and Board of Education, who all played an instrumental role in the process.”
The budget for fiscal year 2022-23 carries a projected 1.38 percent tax increase. The Board of Finance is expected to set the mill rate from 36.36 to 36.86 mills.
Individual tax bills can be calculated by multiplying one’s assessed property value by the mill rate and then dividing by 1,000.
The new budget includes $31.7 million in municipal spending, a 0.57 percent increase over the current budget. Education spending rose from $61,521,068 to $64,440,666 for a 4.75 percent increase.
“I’m so happy that the voters supported it,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza said. “It’s such an important budget to help our students, especially after everything the kids have been through in the past two years. This is a very important vote.”
The first selectman and the Board of Finance left the Board of Education’s budget request intact, before it reached the voters Tuesday.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the collaboration that exists between the Board of Education, the first selectman and the Board of Finance,” Kobza said. “This budget will go a long way in addressing the needs of our kids coming out of the pandemic.”
Board of Education Chairman David Ferris was also grateful to the officials and boards involved in the budget process.
“I’m very happy it passed,” he said. “Many people worked very, very hard on this budget. We can move forward with a minimal tax increase and a budget that will serve the town very well.”
However, Ferris said he was disappointed at the low voter turnout and only 1,622 people deciding the tax increase for the entire town of over 19,000 residents.
“I hope more people participate next year,” he said. “It’s such a privilege to have a budget referendum. This affects you and your wallet more than anything else.”
Voter turnout was 1,622 or 12.63 percent of Monroe’s 12,838 registered voters. One of the votes was cast by a property owner off the grand list.
Turnout at District 1 (Fawn Hollow) was 11.5 percent, District 2 (Stepney) 12.81 percent, District 3 (Monroe Elementary) 13.99 and District 4 (Masuk) was 12.94 percent.