July 2, 2020

Essex Selectmen Set Town Meeting Vote on 2011-2012 Town Budget

ESSEX— The board of selectmen has decided to hold a town meeting vote on the proposed $21.59 million town budget plan for 2011-2012, setting the annual budget meeting for Monday May 9 at 8 p.m. in the auditorium at the town hall.

The agenda for Wednesday’s board meeting provided for a discussion of whether to hold the budget vote by town meeting, or an eight-hour referendum. But there was no discussion as First Selectman Phil Miller and Selectman Norman Needleman moved for a town meeting vote. Selectman Joel Marzi was absent.

The board sent the town budget directly to referendum in 2009, but last year the budget was approved at a town meeting attended by less than 50 residents. Residents could still force a referendum by submitting a petition signed by at least 50 registered voters to the town’s clerk’s office by Friday May 6. Residents turning out for the May 9 meeting may determine the method of voting, either by voice vote, show of hands, or a check list and paper ballot vote.

The spending plan includes $6,782,158 for town government, an increase of 4.37 percent from the current appropriation, and an appropriation of $7,407,913 for Essex Elementary School that represents a 2.94 percent increase from current funding for the school. The total spending amount of $21,597,015 also includes the town’s $7,406,944 share of the Region 4 education budget that goes to the voters of Chester, Deep River, and Essex in a May 3 referendum.

The spending plan is expected to require an increase in the property tax rate that is currently set at 17.63 mills, or $17.63 in tax for each $1,000 of assessed property values. Finance board chairman Jim Francis has said the board could decide to reduce the size of any increase in the tax rate with a one-time transfer of funds from the town’s undesignated fund balance that currently contains over $2 million.