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Region 15 Votes Wednesday on Second Education Budget

Second referendum on 2014-15 education budget Wednesday.

Southbury and Middlebury voters are heading back to the polls Wednesday to weigh in on the second 2014-15 Region 15 budget proposal.

Southbury voters can cast their ballots at the Firehouse on Main Street South between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The Board of Education cut just under $550,000 from their first spending request, which failed by 408 votes.

The new proposal is a $1,729,043 increase in spending over 2013-14, or 2.79 percent (the first vote featured an increase of $2,276,182), for a total of $63,681,307.
Claudia Chapman June 04, 2014 at 11:03 AM
As you drive to the polls, take a sidetrip along Kettletown Road. Loop around on Georges Hill Road. Count the For Sale signs. I counted nine the other day, including one "For Sale By Owner" sign which included the information that he had dropped the price on his home — again — this time to $285,000. The people I've spoken with who are moving —or considering moving — are all doing so for one reason. It's just not worth raiding their savings to live in Southbury, no matter how much they love the town. Property values in Southbury have not recovered like they have in other parts of the nation. People are leaving Connecticut — and our town — due to the high taxes. We're at the bottom of the heap in terms of economic growth. What wil it mean to potential buyers when they see that our mill rate is creeping up towards 30 when they could buy a house in neighboring Roxbury where they keep the mill rate down in the low teens? Does it make sense to move to a town where you will pay twice as much property tax on your cars?
JHS June 04, 2014 at 12:25 PM
Expecting a drop in the school budget is unrealistic. We have employee contracts which even though are decided without public input, have increases built in. The price of all commodities have gone up as well as maintenance materials. And full day kindergarten has used up resources that if not implemented might have resulted in staffing reduction. I don't buy the hysteria of the board about how important the budget is but they have made necessary reductions and warrant a YES vote. THe only thing that would reduce costs is combining buildings but that would need a long range plan, and demographic studies to make sure there are not overcrowded classrooms in the future. This budget scenario has played out countless times in my 30+ years in town and we always got through it with rarely a necessary 3rd vote. Anyone who values their property values knows that strong, well thought of schools are needed. But CT taxes are high and make it unfriendly to retirees and business owners, that is another story. But in order for the budget to pass, people have to vote.
Claudia Chapman June 04, 2014 at 01:25 PM
One way to keep up with rising school budgets and protect working families, the unemployed and retirees would be to put a progressive cap on property taxes based on income. For example, for families earning less than 100K the cap might be 6% of pre-tax earnings. For families earning less than 50K it might be 5%. This is one way to balance the needs of all of the people in the community. It could help us to avoid these debates which pit neighbor against neighbor. It would ensure that people pay their fair share but are still protected.
Southbury Resident June 04, 2014 at 01:45 PM
Claudia...Progressive Mill rate... I like that idea. However, I am pretty sure Town has no ability to look into incomes. How about, if your property value is under $200 000 (that should cover Heritage Village, and old timers in Southbury) mill rate is 20 points. If your value is 200 000 - 300 000 than your mill rate is 30 points. if 300 000 + than mill rate is 50 points. Claudia If this budget passes bring up this on next Town meeting and lets put this for referendum too. You have my "Yes" for it.

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