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Update: Residents Getting Their Say on the Budget Today

Voting will be open until 8 p.m.

Updated 2 p.m.

By noontime, Voting on the proposed $80,599,160 budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year totaled 320 people. 

That translates to 2.09 percent of the eligible voters. It was better than the first hour, in which just 50 voted. At the noon tally, just two of the voters were property owners and the rest residents.

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Voting began at 6 this morning. All polls are at Center 375, located at 375 Hartford Turnpike. The polls will be open until 8 p.m.

Residents and taxpayers with at least $1,000 in property assessments are eligible to vote. Voting is taking place in the gymnasium.

Here are some budget facts:

• The bottom line of $80,599,160 represents an increase of $1,305,411 over the $79.2 spending plan for the current fiscal year.

• It is an overall increase of 1.65 percent, according to the town's finance office.

• General government totals $26,172,367, an increase of $599,988.

• Capital improvement and debt service total $6,245,796, $13,216 less than this year's total.

• The appropriation for Education is being proposed at $48,180,997, an increase of $718,639.

• Mayor George Apel had proposed an $81,346,432 budget. The council took out $747,272.

• The budget proposal would force taxes to increase from their current level of 29.9 mills to 33.63, an increase of 3.73 mills.

• Finance Officer and Treasurer James Luddecke said an increase of .7 mill can be attributed to taxes. The remaining 3.03 is the end result of the town getting hammered on the grand list in a revaluation year with a struggling economy, he said.

The results of the referendum will be announced at the Town Council meeting tonight and the council will then take action by either setting the tax rate or a date to further deliberate over the numbers.

Deputy  Registrar of Voters Christopher Prue said he expected things to pick up after people get out of work.

"Then, the line is usually  out the door," he said.

There was no line for resident Nancy Krupienski as she filled out an exit survey at about 12:30 p.m. She said she just wants nothing taken out of the education appropriation should the budget fail. 

The results will be announced at tonight's Town Council meeting, scheduled for 7:30 at Town Hall. Depending on the result of the refernedum, the council will either set the tax rate with an approved budget in hand or pick a date to begin another round of deliberations.

Since he helped pass the budget - as  did the entire council, Deputy Mayor Brian Motola wants it to pass. In response to criticism over allocations for just two new police cars off-budget and taking $5,000 out of a Rockville Downtown  Association cut, Motola said at a recent  council meeting thet "Chicken Little ... the sky is not falling."

Today, he said, “The sky is not falling, its just a bit of rain this morning, so please do not let it detour you from voting," he said in a message to the general public. "The mayor, Board of Education and Town Council crafted what I consider to be a complete budget for running this town for the next fiscal year.

I urge everyone to vote “Yes” on this budget please.  While I am sure people who advocate for certain departments might not be enthusiastic, it is the TownCouncil’s job to balance all the competing issues against one another and craft a budget that is fair to all taxpayers and citizens. Good luck to us all."

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