Preston voters overwhelmingly approve town, school budgets
Preston — Voters approved both the school and town government 2015-16 budgets by a 2-1 ratio Tuesday with a low turnout of 8 percent.
With the $10.85 million school budget having no increase over this year's spending plan, and the $3.35 million town government budget up only slightly, there was little controversy in the two packages. The school budget passed 161 to 88, and the general government budget was approved 185 to 63.
A year ago, the school budget failed on the first try, and the Board of Education removed a controversial new preschool program before the new budget passed. This year, the Board of Education launched the preschool program in January and retained it in the new budget without increasing the total spending.
The Board of Finance in April voted to use $592,000 in surplus funds to more than offset what would have been a slight tax increase, bringing the tax rate to 23 mills in the coming year, a drop from this year's 23.14 mills.
Tuesday's referendum was the first election for new registrars, Democrat Joanne Eisenhard and Republican Lennie Spencer. The registrars said the referendum went smoothly, if slowly, throughout the day.
"I'm calling this our soft opening," Spencer said.