New London budget referendum Tuesday

New London - Residents will be asked to go to the polls Tuesday to vote up or down the $82 million budget and the nearly one mill increase in the tax rate needed to support it.

Looking Out for Taxpayers petitioned for a referendum in June after the City Council approved the 2013-14 municipal spending plan. The group collected nearly 200 more signatures than the 483 required to prompt the vote.

Voters will approve or reject $41,565,314 for city government; $40,414,666 for education; and a tax rate of 27.5 mills, a 0.9 mill increase.

The $82 million budget represents a 3.8 percent increase in taxes.

City Councilor Donald Macrino, chairman of the Finance Committee, said he supports the budget, which began July 1 and ends June 30, 2014, and hopes residents will approve it.

"I'm behind the budget. I don't think any of us are happy with it or our state of affairs, but given all the stresses on the city, we honestly gave it our best shot to come out with as fair a budget as we could,'' Macrino said. "Everyone will feel a bit of pain. I feel bad about the police department, the public works, the schools and the citizens who have to pay the taxes."

Polls at all three polling places will open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

District 1 residents will vote at New London High School, 490 Jefferson Ave., and District 2 residents will cast their ballots at Harbor School, 432 Montauk Ave.

Voters in the city's third district, the south end of the city, will vote at Ocean Beach Park. Voters may enter the park free of charge at the Park Street gate. Assistant registrars will be available for curbside voting for those who cannot access the Port 'N Starboard banquet hall, where the voting machines are set up.

In November, residents will be asked to vote on the 2012-13 budget, five months after the end of the fiscal year. Looking Out for Taxpayers also successfully petitioned for the vote on that $81 million budget.

It is not clear what will happen if the 2012-13 budget is not approved in November.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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