Large crowd at Montville budget hearing forces council to reschedule meeting

Montville — A public hearing Monday night on the town's school budget was abruptly halted when an overflow crowd in the Town Hall put the hearing in violation of fire safety regulations.

The hearing, on the school district's proposed $37.6 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, attracted a standing-room-only crowd of well over 100 inside the Town Council chambers.

Fire Marshal Raymond Occhialini told councilors that the room has a capacity of no more than 80 seats. That led the council to postpone the hearing to next Tuesday at a time and location to be determined.

The school budget has become one piece of an increasingly difficult budget season for the town. The Board of Education in February voted to adopt a $37.6 million school budget, which was a 2.72 percent increase or about $1 million more than the current budget.

Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr. last week proposed a $55.7 million overall town budget that called for no increase to the current $36.6 million school budget. McDaniel's budget proposes an overall increase of 0.2 percent.

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