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Portland Voters Head to the Polls

Proposed budget calls for 30.73 mill rate.

Portland Voters Head to the Polls


It is Portland's turn to vote on a proposed budget.

Residents will go to the polls on Monday to vote on the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget that calls for a $30,446,595 in spending and a 30.73 mill rate or a 0.47 mill increase.

Despite a public hearing and several workshops by the board of education and board of finance residents that could have attended, few did, and First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield characterized the budget season as "relatively quiet."

"In light of what the budget vote entails - and it entails how do you want to have the town run next year, what kind of services are you interested in having - and from the limited feedback, I think that people are perhaps satisfied with the current level of service," Bransfield said. "I don't think they're looking for anything terribly new. We have, thanks to the generosity of our citizens, I think a very well run school system and a very well run town and I would hope that voters agree and they are able to give us the modest budget we put forward, and agree with the seven selectman, who all agreed on the budget, that we should proceed as it was presented."

Portland has not always had budgets unanimously agreed to by its selectmen. That they are all in agreement this year has Bransfield feeling optimistic.

Still, there is the complicated issue of revaluation and the impact, if any, it might have this year.

The current FY 2011-12 mill rate is 30.26 adjusted after revaluation.

Homeowners were notified by mail the impact the revaluation had on the value of their property.

The typical house saw a decrease in value.

"If they saw something like a nine to a 10 percent decrease in their property, with this given mill rate, that particular owner might actually see a decrease in their taxes for next year.

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The proposed budget calls for an increase in spending of about $630,794 or a 2.12 percent increase. The board of selectmen left untouched the board of education’s request for $18.454 million, an increase of $358,000 or 1.98 percent.

“They did all their work for us,” Bransfield said in April. “They put a very lean budget forward.”

Last year, and in two of the past three years, the school budget has had a zero increase.

Acccording to Bransfield, Portland's accomplishments reflect the continued strong support of its citizens. As examples she cited Brownstone Intermediate School being one of five schools in Connecticut designated as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and Portland being recognized as one of the Best Small Towns in America by Money Magazine.

Also, Portland High School was recently awarded a "Bronze Medal" by US News -
High School Rankings
. In Connecticut, 47 out of 195 schools were ranked as
Bronze, Silver or Gold. Of those, there were 12 Gold, 25 Silver and 10 Bronze. Bransfield called this "wonderful news."

Bransfield is encouraged by the feedback she normally gets from residents, saying they are generally satisfied by the town services being provided and the budgets that have been put forward.

She said the selectmen value any input from residents, but for whatever reason, there has been very little feedback this year compared with other years.

"I can't explain why other than there is nothing new or controversial in this budget," she said.

Voting is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Portland Senior Center on 7 Waverly Ave.


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