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Avon voters reject budget for third time

By Ted Glanzer

Staff Writer

AVON --- For the first time since 2008, the Town Council will set the annual budget after a third referendum at the Senior Center failed on Monday.

Voters rejected a third, $115.4 million budget by a tally of 1,133 against and 621 in favor. Turnout of registered voters was 13.3%. The nearly 2-to-1 rejection was still the closest of the three votes, with the first resulting in a 1,378 to 299 rejection and the second failing 1,745 to 686.

The Board of Finance on June 24 made $2.8 million in reductions to the proposed budget with the use of $2.18 million from the fund balance as well as cutting a total of $614,000: $307,600 from the Board of Education budget, $175,000 from the Cider Brook Road reconstruction project and $131,800 from town operations. The reduction meant there would be no mill rate (i.e. tax rate) increase on residents. Many would pay more, however, due to the revaluation process that resulted in higher residential values overall.

The zero percent tax increase wasn't enough to convince voters to pass the budget, however. By charter, the Town Council must now set the budget. Town Manager Brandon Robertson said after the referendum result was announced Monday that he would schedule a special Town Council meeting either Wednesday or Thursday to set the budget.

The sometimes contentious budget season is the result of several factors, including a revaluation this year that saw residential real property values, most notably condominiums, skyrocket, leading to a shift of a higher tax burden on residential rather than commercial properties. In addition, a group of voters during the public hearings expressed their dissatisfaction at what they believe is uncontrolled spending.

Town officials and other residents have responded that annual budgets have been responsible and reflect the kind of community people in town want to live in.


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