Letter to the Editor: 'Vote Saturday May 14'

Selectman Howard Lasser on the upcoming budget referendum.

First the basics:

The vote on the Town Budget is Saturday, May 14. Voting is from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is in the usual polling places; District 1 voters will vote at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School, District 2 voters will vote at Brookfield High School. Absentee Ballots are available in the Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall.

This year the budget vote is separated into two questions, one on funding for the Town Operations and the other on funding for the Board of Education. You should vote on each question.  Details on the budget are available on the town web site brookfieldct.gov or Click here to go to the budget detail.

Please remember to vote on Saturday; please support the community by voting YES on both questions. The Board of Finance voted unanimously for this budget. We are one Town, one community. Our Education system is no less important than our Police and other areas. All need your support. 

Please forward the attached flyer to your friends. Print it out and circulate to your friends, neighbors and others in town you interact with. This year is different, the vote is on Saturday and there are two questions not one. We need to remind people of these differences so they will remember to vote.

The important stuff is above. If interested here is some background and answers to some questions I have heard.

Why is the vote on Saturday?

Those attending the Annual Town Meeting voted to set the date on Saturday. The Town Charter empowers the Town Meeting to amend the recommended motion of the Board of Selectmen. The idea of having a Saturday vote has been floated around for many years. Those people in favor of this had enough support at the Town Meeting to make this change. Many believe this will give a greater number of people the opportunity to vote. Others believe it will stifle participation.  

Why are there two questions?

The Board of Selectmen had recommended a vote on a single budget figure. The Charter empowers the Town Meeting to amend that recommendation, those attending the Town Meeting voted by 111 to 61 to split the vote. Many feel the reason is to be able to vote down the Education portion of the budget. There were only a few people who spoke at the Town Meeting and those that spoke in favor of this motion clearly gave the impression this was their intention. 

What happens if only one of the two questions passes?

Both figures must pass at the same time for the Town to adopt a budget. Regardless of how many figures are included on the ballot, it is still only one budget. If only one part passes either part or both parts may be adjusted by the Board of Finance before going back to a new referendum. It should be noted that if there is a need for another vote, it will be on Saturday, May 28, during Memorial Day weekend.

Will we always have a split budget going forward?

Each year the Board of Selectmen makes a recommendation to the Town Meeting as to how to present the question, as one figure or two. Each year the Town Meeting may accept this recommendation or amend it.


Please remember to VOTE ON SATURDAY MAY 14! Please vote YES on both questions.

Howard Lasser

Member, Board of Selectmen

Melissa Y May 11, 2011 at 10:57 PM
No I will not vote YES
Michael Gianfranceschi May 12, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Vote yes?? you've got to be kidding me!! what? if I don't vote yes that means I don't support the town? when are you going to get it? You cannot keep sticking it to the people in this town. Couple of years ago it was just one pizza a month and then it was just a cup of coffee twice a week!! Stop it!! you are killing this town with your constant increases in our taxes. I'm voting NO!!!
Howard Lasser May 12, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Voting no without suggesting what services you are willing to do without or where you think there is waste is not very constructive. No one at the town meeting or at any public hearing I attended gave any indication of where they thought there was waste or what services they were willing to forego. Simply complaining about federal or state issues or just voting no without providing any feedback is not a productive dialog. The Town faces the same pressures every household faces, increased costs of fuel, health care etc. While trying to mitigate as much of the cost pressures as possible, through changing employee benefits and investing in efficient technologies we are able to hold down some cost increases, but not all. I believe people want real honesty, not tired old clichés. Blaming others, state or federal officials, may feel good but it does not solve anything.
Brian May 12, 2011 at 03:05 PM
My wife and I have not seen an increase in our income since we bought in Brookfield, and consider ourselves lucky to both have jobs in this economy. Since 2006 our town taxes have gone up $1,000 and the value of our home has dropped $100,000. I would love to have the option to sell and move someplace we can better afford, but houses in town are not selling. The fact of the matter is that our income has become static and every increase in tax is a decrease in our take home pay. It's that pay that we use to go out for dinner, it's that money that allows me to buy my daughter a new toy, it's that money that I use to support local business. Instead of spending that money on my family, I'm supposed to be comforted by the knowledge that the town government worked really hard to raise the budget only slightly. I cannot "feel good" in feeding the town coffers when the leadership cannot even trim a budget without ideas from the populace. 10% across the board would be one suggestion. G/L 5290 for travel, continuing ed, and dues would be another. What are the travel expenses for a town employee? Dues to who? Lay off a town employee or two. I have been told that we need to "share the burden", from where I sit the taxpayers are carrying all the sacrifice while all levels of government demonstrate that a sacrifice to them is a 2% raise instead of a 6% one. I'm voting no until the town can produce a budget that requires no increase in revenue, just as I have had to do the past few years.


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