Simsbury residents voted to approve three budget appropriations and two capital projects at Tuesday's referendum. The Board of Finance voted unanimously to pass a 1.65 percent mill rate increase.
After a slow start on a rainy day there was a better turnout than Assistant Registrar Peter Stempien expected. Only 600 votes had been cast by 1:45 p.m. Stempien said the majority of voters came between 5 and 8 p.m.
Approximately 15 percent of Simsbury's registered voters went to the polls on Tuesday to decide on the proposed 2012-13 budgets, with a total of 1,771 votes cast.
Voters approved combined budget appropriations of $88,365,805 and capital project expenses of $3,850,000.
The town's new mill rate, including the Fire District tax, will be 32.40 mills.
Here are the official referendum results:
"All of the budgets and items, all five, were approved by the voters in a fairly substantial margin," Board of Finance Chairman Paul Henault said. Henault said the approval by voters reflected the hard work of all the boards to put together well-balanced, affordable budgets.
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The board of finance originally estimated the mill rate increase would only be 1.62 percent. A last minute change to the expenses in the Board of Selectmen budget resulted in the 1.65 percent increase. The change was due to a higher number of seniors participating in the town's Senior Tax Relief program which ended on Tuesday.
The town anticipated the cost of the tax relief program to be $378,529. The actual cost of the program this year was $415,342.
Board of Finance member Kevin North disagreed with the board's consideration of last-minute changes to the budget but said he wouldn't necessarilly have made any other cuts to the budgeted expenses.
"Going forward we should not abandon prior process and procedure and consider expense increases right up until the last minute," North said.
Board member Nicholas Mason said he hopes the boards will spend more time next year developing the revenue side of the budget rather than looking for places to cut expenses.
The board voted unanimously to approve the mill rate increase to 31.37. The Simsbury Fire District held its annual meeting on Monday night and set the Fire District Mill Rate to 1.03. The combined mill rate is 32.40.