The referendum on the town of Woodbury's proposed 2012-13 budget will take place from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at the .
Board of Finance Chairman Bill Drakeley presented the following information on the proposed budget at a Monday, May 21, annual town and budget meeting.
- Proposed 2012-13 Town Budget: $9,463,255
- Increase of 8.63 percent or $752,134 over the 2011-12 town budget of $8,711,121
- Current mill rate: 22.46
- Proposed mill rate: 22.43
First Selectman Gerald Stomski told Patch that a home assessed at $350,000 would pay $10.50 less in annual taxes, if the proposed budget is approved.
Drakeley told Patch that a proposed mill rate reduction was achieved due to increased revenues.
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Region 14's Budget
The school district's budget weighed heavily on some residents' minds. Art McNally said the town's proposed budget assumes the Region 14 budget presents a zero percent increase, which it does not.
At the , members voted on the next figure to come before residents.
- $30,817,765: A 1.89-percent increase, or $571,736, higher than the 2011-12 budget
Drakeley said the finance board came to a consensus and does not support Region 14's proposed budget.
"If you pass the next [Region 14] budget at the current level, you're going to see a tax increase," he said.
"So you're still urging people to reject the Region 14 budget?" McNally asked.
"Yes," Drakeley said.
The Region 14 budget referendum will take place from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at Memorial Hall in Bethlehem and the Senior Community Center in Woodbury.
Drakeley said the agriscience program, while great, has been a source of frustration.
"All the years I've been involved, I've never received an accurate answer on the cost it takes to run it," he said. "There's no way to determine what the true cost is."
He said more information is needed from Region 14.
"There's a lot that could be explained to us about different costs of programs within the region and whether Woodbury is being unfairly taxed with regard to out-of-town students," he said.
Resident Frank Shepard made a motion that was ultimately defeated after Board of Finance members noted that the town did not have the legal right to make that motion.
Shepard's motion was to instruct the Boards of Finance and Selectmen to withhold Woodbury's payment for vo-ag tuition students from Region 14's approved budget.
"I'll pay for my own students but I don't want to pay for someone else's," he said.
Selectman George Hale recommended the town go through the proper channels to address the vo-ag program.
"I certainly appreciate the spirit of the motion and the frustration that residents have over this issue," he said. "However, it's been pointed out that we don't have the legal right to do this."
Drakeley said the Board of Education members finally admitted there is an issue with the funding of out-of-region students.
"They're aware of it and they hear us but if you pass the [school] budget, it's going to go away again," he said. "I would suggest that you defeat the budget until you're satisfied with the explanation you get from the school."