The North Branford Town Council has less than a week to finalize the 2012-13 budget. After on April 3–many speaking on the subject of –the Council held a budget workshop on April 4 to discuss the proposed budget.
At the workshop, the Council voted to . The Council went on to cut the town’s proposed budget by about $300,000 at the workshop.
“It got to about 11:30 p.m. and everyone kind of ran out of steam so I said our office could pick it up from there since I knew what they were looking for,” said Town Manager Richard Branigan. “We’re still looking at each department’s budgets for any opportunities to make additional cuts that may be warranted. It’s a work in progress.”
Presentation of the Final Budget
Once that work is completed, the final budget will be presented at the .
After the Town Council adopts the final version, the budget will be available for review on the town’s website.
On to the Referendum
Once the final budget is adopted, registered voters have the opportunity to vote on the budget in the budget referendum (the town's election page has information on registering to vote). The referendum is Tuesday, May 8 from noon to 8 p.m. at the regular polling locations– and .
Voters will receive a ballot asking one question: “Should the Town Council’s budget be adopted?” The final budget amount and final mill rate will also be listed. The three choices are “I accept the budget,” “I reject the budget–too high” or “I reject the budget–too low.”
In order for the results of the referendum to be binding, at least 15 percent of the town’s registered voters must have turned out to the polls. If the 15 percent required by the is met, the Council is bound to adjust the budget according to the vote.
“It doesn’t say how much they have to change it, but they have to adjust it in accordance with what referendum has said,” said Town Clerk Lisa Valenti.
The Town of North Branford adopted the budget referendum in 2004 with 2005 being the first referendum. Since adopting the referendum–the previous process was a Town Budget Meeting–the only time the 15 percent turned out to the polls was 2006. That year, 16.3 percent of voters (1,384 residents) headed to the polls with 1,137 rejecting the budget for being too high.
The received just 5.33 percent of registered voters (465 people) with 375 of voters rejecting the budget for being too high.