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Easton Residents Weigh In on Spending

Easton’s budget deliberations for the fiscal year 2011-12 have reached the midway mark from a time standpoint. But like a good basketball game, the real action doesn't get hot until the second half.

That was evident Monday night at Samuel Staples Elementary School when budgets were presented for the town, the Easton schools and Region 9, where Easton students attend high school. At the end of the three presentations, the floor was opened for public comment, and many residents came to the microphone to give their opinions.

The first few speakers were parents who praised the Board of Education for restoring several programs, notably middle school music and foreign languages, with a 2.3 percent increase in spending. But the concluding remarks came from several speakers who opposed the 5 percent property tax hike the budgets would create if adopted.

Over the next 10 days, the finance board and education board can revise the budget requests before finalizing them for publication April 22. Three days later, the budgets will come up for a vote at the annual town meeting, and on May 3 the general population will vote in a budget referendum. Such a vote is required by law for the Region 9 budget.

A more detailed breakdown of the budgets, as well as more in-depth accounts of Monday night's speakers, will appear later on The Daily Easton.

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