Mansfield voters will decided the fate of the Town Council’s $ 44.13 million 2011-2012 proposed budget Tuesday when the spending plan goes to an Annual Town Meeting vote on Tuesday, May 10.
The Town Meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Mansfield Middle School auditorium.
If it passes, the $44,131,150 combined town/school budget proposal, approved at the Town Council’s April 25 meeting, would be an increase of $504,865, or 1.16 percent over the current budget.
The current tax rate is 25.71 mills. If the budget passes, the tax rate increases 0.97 mills to 26.68 mills.
At the rate of 26.68 mills, the owner of a home assessed at $168,770 – the median assessment in Mansfield – would pay $4,502 in taxes, an increase of $163.
Mansfield Mayor Betsy Paterson said she hopes residents come out to express their views on the budget and to get an understanding on where their tax dollars would be spent.
“I think it’s very important, because taxes [are] one of the biggest bills they’ll pay,” she said.
The proposed general government budget of $ 13,829,750 is an increase of $709,855, or 5.4 percent over the current budget.
The proposed education budget of $ 20,572,170 is a decrease of $15,990, or 0.1 percent over the current budget.
The town’s share of the Regional School District 19 education budget (E.O. Smith High School), approved at the three-town referendum on May 3, is $9,729,230 – a reduction of 2 percent or $194,998.
The proposed budget also includes a $200,000 contribution to increase the town’s fund balance (contingency fund), a $ 2,154,000 capital fund budget and a $ 1,006,000 capital and nonrecurring reserve fund budget.
Electors have the option of sending the budget to referendum from the Annual town Meeting if it passes, and if they submit a petition to the Town Clerk within 21 days of the Town Meeting – as has happened in past years. The petition must be signed by 2 percent of Mansfield’s registered voters – there are currently 10,349 voters.
The signatures would then need to be verified by the Town Clerk and the Town Council would set a date for the referendum, typically held two weeks after the council receives the petition.
Voters would be asked whether they approve the budget as passed at the Annual Town Meeting, and there would be advisory questions asking whether voters feel the government or education budgets are “too high” or “too low.”
The Town Council would then have until midnight on June 30 to approve a new budget, which would not have to go back to voters, Town Clerk Mary Stanton said.
Posted May 6, 2011
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