Petition forces vote on borough budget

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BudgetVoteNAUGATUCK — Voters mark your calendars, a referendum will be held on Naugatuck’s 2013-14 budget.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses set the referendum date for July 9 at a special meeting Wednesday night. The vote will be held from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Naugatuck Historical Society, 195 Water St.

The borough adopted a total $110.9 million budget in May, which is an increase of $3.3 million, or 3.08 percent over the current year’s budget.

The general government budget is $51.5 million, an increase of $1.9 million or 3.87 percent over the current budget. The Board of Education budget is $59.4 million, an increase of $1.39 million or 2.4 percent over the current budget.

The budget was forced to a referendum by petitions submitted by Taxpayers in Revolt Chairman Alec Wargo in late May. The group collected nearly 2,000 signatures on each petition, one for the municipal budget and one for the school budget, and enough signatures were verified to force the vote.

“The spending is not in tune with the citizens’ positions,” Wargo said after submitting the petitions. “The state, and the country for that matter, is in the midst of horrible economic recession. It’s a matter of people keeping their house and having a job rather than getting raises. I think government employees should be in the same position.”

The ballot for the referendum will ask voters to vote on the municipal and school budgets separately. Those who vote against the budgets will choose between two answers “No – Too High” or “No – Too Low.”  

Although the municipal and school budgets are voted on separately, they are tied together, meaning one can’t be approved or rejected with out the other. The ballots are divided this way to give borough officials a better idea of what voters are thinking.

For the referendum to be considered valid at least 15 percent of registered voters in the borough need to cast a vote. If the turnout is less than 15 percent, the referendum is considered to have failed and the budget is adopted.

The borough will use the number of registered voters on the day of the referendum for the calculation, Borough Clerk Nancy DiMeo said.

As of May 31 there 17,473 registered voters in Naugatuck.