NAUGATUCK — The borough budget will be heading to referendum next month.
A group of Naugatuck taxpayers committed to keeping the budget low submitted a petition to the borough clerk to force a vote on the budget late last week.
Chair of Naugatuck Taxpayers in Revolt Alec Wargo submitted two petitions of signatures. The group began collecting signatures a few weeks ago when the Joint Boards of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses approved a $105.5 million budget.
The separate petitions call for votes on the Board of Education and municipal budgets because the group feels the budgets are too high.
As of Tuesday afternoon, enough signatures had been verified to force a vote on the municipal budget Tax Collector Jim Goggin said.
As of press time, the petition to force a vote on the school budget had not been verified. But, officials expected there would be enough valid signatures to force a referendum on the school budget as well.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses will have to meet within five days of certification of the petition to set a referendum date. The referendum will take place 22 to 28 days from the meeting date, DiMeo said.
The joint boards approved the $105.5 million budget May 26. The school budget was approved at $57 million, about a $500,000 or 0.97 percent increase over the current fiscal year. General government appropriations increased about $1.2 million to about $48.5 million, a 2.61 percent increase over the current fiscal year.
The budget increases the mill rate by 0.79 mills to 32.81. A mill is worth $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. A property owner whose home is assessed at $200,000 would pay $158 more in taxes.
Goggin said that since there will be a referendum his office will be sending out half-year tax bills for real estate only, in order to gather some revenue for the borough.
The half-year bills will be issued using a mill rate of 16.405, half of the mill rate set by the joint boards, Goggin explained.
Once the referendum process plays out and the final budget is approved, the remaining tax bills will be sent out.
Goggin added that anyone in the borough on an elderly tax freeze will not receive any bills until the final budget is set.