Editor's note: This version corrects total number of voters who cast ballots
North Stonington — Voters on Monday finally passed the 2012-13 budget.
The 993 voters who cast ballots passed both the general government and school budgets at the fourth referendum in the past five months. The town was the only municipality in the region without an approved budget.
Voters approved the $5.9 million general government operating, capital, and debt budget, 628-358, with seven blank ballots while they approved the $12.1 million school budget, 661-329, with three blank ballots.
The $18.1 million budget is 0.4 percent more than the 2011-12 budget and $2.7 million less than the first draft of the budget proposed in June. A total of $359,696 had been cut from the last budget voters rejected.
It had never taken more than three referenda in the town’s history to pass a budget. Board of Finance Chairman Dan Spring said a number of efforts — including town meetings and an online survey to glean resident feedback — aided in the budget’s passage Monday night.
“I think we had citizens in the town talking to each other, talking about the critical issues, and being quite clear about what the priorities are in town, which just leads to better things,” he said.
Twenty-six percent of the town’s 3,707 registered voters cast ballots Monday, which was the largest turnout since the first budget referendum.
Town and school officials will not have much time to celebrate as First Selectman Nick Mullane said the boards of selectmen, finance and education will begin work on the next fiscal year’s budget in just 38 days.
— Anna Isaacs