Stonington voters approve budget of $57.9 million

Stonington — Voters here overwhelmingly approved the 2013-14 budget of $57.9 million and its 19.88-mill tax rate Tuesday by a vote of 1,582 to 674.

Just 18 percent of the town’s registered voters cast ballots, about average for a first budget referendum.

The budget is about 1.9 percent more than the current budget, while the tax rate has a 0.35-mill increase after being adjusted for the revaluation.

First Selectman Ed Haberek said Tuesday that the “very impressive margin” of victory was a “great endorsement” of the budget that town and school officials had put together. He said the budget is very efficient while still allowing for some program improvements, such as the addition of full-day kindergarten.

He added that parents did a good job in getting budget supporters out to vote.

Superintendent Van Riley, who was going through his first budget process since being hired last year, was visibly relieved by the results.

The Board of Finance cut $150,000 from the proposed $977,000 increase in the school budget. Riley said half of the $150,000 will be offset by savings from teachers who are retiring. There will be no layoffs or program reductions, he said.

Riley added that the school budget was presented in a format that made it easy for people to understand the reasons for the increases and decreases. That, he said, helped build support for the plan.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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