New London taxpayers group submits petition to force referendum on 3.8 percent tax hike

New London - Looking Out for Taxpayers has submitted more than enough signatures to the city clerk on a petition to force a referendum on the 2013-14 municipal budget.

The watchdog group that is protesting a 3.8 percent tax increase submitted about 680 signatures on the petition Monday, almost 200 more than the 483 required signatures, according to City Clerk Nathan Caron.

Caron has certified that the appropriate number of signatures are on the petition and will present the document to the City Council on July 1. The council has the option of reconsidering the budget and re-voting on an amended version. If the council does not vote, the budget will be submitted to residents at the next municipal election, or sooner if five councilors agree on a date.

On June 12, LOT was about 60 signatures short of the 483 needed to force a vote on the $82 million budget, but was granted a 10-day extension.

Voters are already looking at a question on the November ballot concerning the 2012-13 budget, which comes to an end June 30. Last year, LOT successfully petitioned for two votes on the budget and the City Council scheduled the second one for November, five months after the close of the fiscal year. It is not clear what will happen if the 2012-13 budget is not approved in November.

- Kathleen Edgecomb

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