Stonington voters approve budget with 4.4% increase
Stonington ― Voters approved the proposed 2023-24 town budget of $80.2 million, with a 4.4% spending increase, by a vote of 652-362 at Tuesday’s referendum.
Just 8% of the town’s 13,412 registered voters cast ballots.
Despite a $3.4 million increase in spending, the budget reduces the tax rate to 17.45 mills.
The board was able to do this in large part because of an increase in the grand list due to the revaluation and the use of $3.8 million from the town’s $19.6 million undesignated fund balance to offset the tax rate.
To determine their new tax bills, property owners can take their new assessment, divide it by 1,000 and multiply that number by 17.45. They can then compare that to their current tax bill.
“The budget process takes a lot of work from a great number of people: town and school, staff, elected officials, and the nonprofit community. The process this year was very collaborative and transparent, and I’m proud of the Stonington team and the budget we put forward. It will serve the community well in the years to come,” said First Selectwoman Danielle Chesebrough on Tuesday night.
Superintendent of Schools Mary Anne Butler added, “We couldn’t be happier. This is the result of teamwork. You can’t get anything accomplished without a team. We had many collaborative meetings with the town, the board of finance and the police department all working together to determine the plan best for the entire community.”
The budget includes $41.6 million in school spending while most capital improvement project requests were reduced by at least half, including Washington Street drainage improvements which saw a $110,000 reduction in funding to $50,000 and a $235,000 reduction in a public works request for highway equipment.
The borough will receive half of its $100,000 request for public restrooms to be located on Wadawanuck Square near the Stonington Free Library, and a request to purchase and develop a master plan for the circus lot in Pawcatuck will receive $125,000 of its $480,000 request.
Additionally, the first selectman’s salary will increase from $105,172 to $120,710, to reverse a past reduction. The increased salary will take effect after the November election.
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