Recount confirms budget vote in Beacon Falls

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BEACON FALLS — After a recount of the 828 votes cast in a budget referendum on June 20, the outcome remains the same: the budget passed 415 yes to 413 no.

The $6.75 million 2017-18 municipal budget was officially adopted after the recount on Monday at Town Hall. The recount was automatically triggered due to the vote being so close at last week’s referendum.

The budget increases town spending by $464,070, or 7.3 percent, over the current municipal budget.

The Board of Finance set the 2017-18 mill rate at 35.9 mills during a special meeting after the recount. The mill rate is an increase of 3 mills over the current mill rate. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The majority of the increase in the mill rate comes from a loss of revenue due to a drop in the grand list from a recent revaluation of property, which caused most home values in town to go down. Due to the revaluation, the town’s 2016 net grand list decreased $25.1 million, or 5.12 percent, to $464.4 million. A mill rate increase of 1.9 mills is needed to balance out the loss of revenue in the grand list.

The town’s budget doesn’t include spending for Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect.

Voters in the two towns approved a $40.9 million school budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year in May. The budget increases school spending by $404,934, or 1 percent, over this year’s school budget. The town’s net education cost — the portion paid through local taxes — is estimated to increase $313,383 based on a projected loss in state education aid.

After the recount, Board of Finance Chairman Joe Rodorigo pointed out that the budget was an expense budget. Since the state legislature hasn’t approved its budget yet, town officials don’t know how the state budget will impact Beacon Falls.