WESTON, Conn. – Weston’s voters will have their say on the town’s spending Wednesday night as the Annual Town Budget Meeting begins at 8 p.m. in Weston High School’s Auditorium.
At the meeting, voters will have the opportunity to make changes to the nearly $65 million in town spending approved by the Board of Finance earlier this month.
Without any changes at the Annual Town Meeting, Weston’s mill rate will be 23.89 this July. That would be a decrease of a half-percent from the current 24.02.
Any registered Weston voter or person owning more than $1,000 worth of property can participate in the meeting. Residents will have the opportunity to propose reductions to the budget but not additions. Any changes must be approved by a majority of those at the meeting if more than 2 percent of eligible voters are present.
The figure includes an increase in town government expenses and a small decrease in education funding. The Board of Education originally asked for more than $706,000 in extra funding for next school year. The school board changed its request by about $523,000 before the Board of Finance’s vote due to improved estimates on health-care costs.
But the finance board decided to cut an additional $190,000 from the request. The Weston Public Schools’ funding under consideration Wednesday will be $45,575,418, more than $11,000 less than the current year’s budget.
Chair Jerry Sargent said he didn’t feel the Board of Education’s spending matched the school district’s declining enrollment over the past few years.
“My belief is that we as a town, and the Board of Education specifically, need to get much more aggressive in making and addressing structural changes,” Sargent said at the Board of Finance’s budget vote.
On the town side of the budget, Weston’s spending will be $11,713,441 on operating expenses, about 3 percent more than the current year. The added spending includes higher health-care and worker compensation costs for town employees. The figure also includes money to hire one additional police officer.
This year’s annual budget vote will have a new process with more opportunities to cast your ballot. After the Annual Town Budget Meeting finalizes the numbers, the Weston’s spending will go to a townwide referendum. Voting will begin immediately after the budget meeting Wednesday.
Voters will also have two chances to cast a ballot after Wednesday night. Starting Thursday morning, voters can file absentee ballots with the town clerk’s office through May 2. In-person voting will then be available May 2 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Weston Middle School gymnasium. After 8 p.m., the votes will be tallied officially.
The full budget approved by the Board of Finance is available at the town website.
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