Voters Approve Seymour Budgets

Seymour voters approved town and school budgets for next year at a referendum Thursday.

The $22.8 million town budget passed by a margin of 532 yes votes to 180 no votes.

The $33.4 million school budget passed by a margin of 498 yes votes to 216 no votes.

Turnout was about 6.6 percent of town’s 10,750 registered voters.

Thursday’s vote marked the third straight year both town and school budgets passed on the first try — and the third straight year the mill rate will remain unchanged at 36.

First Selectman Kurt Miller said that’s no coincidence.

“We have worked very hard over the last few years to make the process more consistent and predictable,” he said. “Being able to keep the mill rate level for three straight years, even after a $2 million plus cut (in aid) from the state, is something we should all be very proud of.”

The school district’s $33.4 million budget is an increase of just over 1 percent. The town’s $22.8 million budget is decreasing about 2 percent.

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Jennifer Magri, the school board chairwoman, was pleased with the result.

“I think that we put forward a reasonable budget given the circumstances and economic times that we’re in, trying to be considerate of the taxpayers while still moving the district forward,” she said.

The school district plans to add one full-time special education teacher in 2018-2019, she said.

The school board hopes that by adding the position that some special education students who currently travel out of town for school — one of the most costly expenses of any school district — can be brought back to learn in Seymour.

Retirements helped the school district keep the year-to-year budget increase low, Magri said.

The combined budget — that is, the school and town budgets taken as a whole — is about $50,000 less than the current combined budget.

Meanwhile, the town’s grand list has increased about $6 million.

William Sawicki, the chairman of the Board of Finance, said the results show officials have done “a very good and credible job of watching over the finances of the town.”

Careful long-term planning has seen Seymour’s bond rating upgraded in recent years, as well as growth to the town’s reserves.

“It’s not as static, just looking at the year,” Sawicki said. “You try to build enough of a track and history with results that when unforeseen bad things pop up, like (last year’s) state budget issue, I think we’re better than a lot of communities in dealing with it.”

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