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Residents Set Date, Question for Budget Vote [Video]

Vote in two weeks on single $56,769,000 question.

Brookfield voters overwhelmingly chose to schedule the first 2012-13 budget referendum for Tuesday, May 15. Voters also chose to vote on a single budget — — in a hand vote that appeared to be 2-1 in favor of supporting .

The represents a 2.63 percent increase in spending over the 2011-12 year and, with current revenue projections, a 2 percent increase to the mill rate, from 24.06 to 24.54.

This year’s mill rate, 24.06, was adjusted from 19.94 after the 2011 revaluation, which has an added affect for residential properties.

“When we did the revaluation the result was that the homes in our town went down approximately 20.2 percent but the commercial only went down 11.5 percent,” resulting in a 17 percent decrease in the town’s Grand List, Board of Finance (BOF) Chairman Jerry Friedrich explained to the 200 registered voters and property owners in attendance. “We’re looking at this very carefully, we think that about two-thirds of you will get a tax decrease.”

(Find your new and prior year assessment, plug it into the calculator on the town website and see how your property taxes would be affected.)

The lower rate of decrease on the commercial side means that residential properties will bear a lesser share of the tax burden than in previous years.

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“If your house value went down by 20 percent or more, your house taxes will go down, period,” First Selectman Bill Davidson said.

“If you’re in or around just 20 percent, your tax bill may be a break even or just slightly higher because we will all pay a slightly higher tax on our cars,” he continued, as the mill rate will go up evenly on vehicles. “But if you have a 21, 22, 24 percent reduction in your house values, you will have a reduction” in your tax bill.

Voters will have their say on the budget in two weeks, with voting open at Brookfield High School (BHS) and Huckleberry Hill Elementary School (HHES) from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Contact the Registrars of Voters with questions about polling districts or the voting process.

Bob McGarrah May 02, 2012 at 10:46 AM
We praise and thank our volunteers who work many hours on the budget every year. Yet we do not give them an opportunity for guidance when it comes to the wants and needs of the voting public. Since advisory questions (like= too high - too low) were deemed illegal by our Town counsel, the good folks who prepare the budget and do all the work have no clue what the people are thinking when a budget is defeated, as happens often in many towns. We are constantly asked for input on the Charter Revision, Four Corners and a myriad of other Town initiatives, yet when it comes to the annual budget, your input is not solicited. This does not seem very fair to the folks who have done all that work. Split voting on the budget costs nothing, yet provides considerable feedback. Why are we so adamant about not splitting the budget and not having advisory questions? Why do we punish our volunteers by failing to provide feedback when it would be so easy to do so? Who is behind this?
Kathie Schilling May 02, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Bob, one of the recommendations of the Charter Revision Committee is to make the advisory question permanent, with three options (too high, too low, just right). Assuming the CRC recommendations are approved in November, the advisory questions will appear on all budget referendums going forward. I also echo the comments of 2bah above, that we have been provided multiple opportunities to give feedback to the Boards. At the BoF budget meetings and the Public Hearing, many people spoke and/or wrote letters to express their opinions. Based on what was said, I think the Boards deserve high praise for their responsiveness to the expressed wants and needs of residents.
Rob Gianazza May 02, 2012 at 05:06 PM
It was the BOF that requested the split vote specifically to get input from the community. When the majority of people attending the BOF hearing on the budget requested money be restored to the budget, the BOF responded by restoring funding in the budget. Your response doesn't hold water.
Steven DeVaux May 03, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Bob, This is yet another "Take it or leave it" offer from the Board of Selectmen (Howard Lasser and Bill Davidson). The BoF wanted input, Howard Lasser and Bill Davidson said they knew better and in effect stated "...the public be damned. We're the experts, we know best. Shut up and sit down.".
Bob McGarrah May 03, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Unfortunately many folks have demanding jobs that require out of town travel, long hours, a long commute or all of the above. Suggesting that they take time away from family to attend meetings where they can give input seems a little myopic when there is an opportunity to give input at the polls. I ask again, who is behind this, and why? Will this information somehow be "harmful" to the town? If so, why is it part of the Charter revision recommendations? Are these questions too difficult?. In closing, few people attend weekday, evening meetings, only 155 attended the annual town meeting - every one should be voting, where would you get the most feed back? Too difficult to answer?

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