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New London - In a split vote Monday night, the City Council approved an $82 million budget for 2013-14, which is nearly $900,000 more than what was proposed by Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio and represents a 3.38 percent increase in taxes.
The council's proposed $81,979,980 budget includes $41.6 million for general government spending and $40.4 million for education. The tax rate would increase from 26.6 to 27.5 mills.
Councilors Adam Sprecace, John Maynard and Marie Friess-McSparran voted against the budget. Council President Michael Passero and Councilors Wade Hyslop, Donald Macrino and Anthony Nolan voted for the budget.
Sprecace presented an alternative budget that would have restored all cuts made by the mayor but it was not presented for a vote.
Finizio's proposed $81 million budget represented about $1 million less in spending over the current year and included massive cuts in the police, fire and public works departments as well as the library, and would have eliminated youth affairs and closed the senior center.
While the council's budget restores some money, all municipal departments are receiving less funding than the current year. How that money will be made up is yet to be determined.
"All options are on the table,'' Finizio said Monday. "Staffing reductions will be a last resort, but it's going to be difficult."
Most of the additions to the mayor's proposal are offset by about $838,000 in a revised estimate of state grant money, a $400,000 cut to the school budget, a $458,000 reduction in the unemployment compensation line and a $37,600 reduction in the disability compensation line.
The council increased the school budget by 1.5 percent, about 1 percent less than what was requested.
A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. May 9 at the auditorium at New London High School.
The council has until May 31 to approve the budget, in what is called an appropriation ordinance. The mayor can then sign the ordinance, or veto all or parts of it. The council would need six out of seven votes to override a veto.