Monroe voters approve $93M budget

Photo of Brian Gioiele

MONROE — The town’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget was approved Tuesday, with some 12 percent of registered voters hitting the polls, according to unofficial results from the Registrar of Voters Office.

First Selectman Ken Kellogg said the unofficial tally had 53 percent of voters — 917 in favor, 822 against — casting ballots for the $93,049,287 budget. With this approval, the town’s mill rate would jump to 36.36, a 2.48 percent tax increase overall.

Individual tax rates can be calculated by multiplying one’s assessed property value by the mill rate and then dividing by 1,000. In Monroe, the median assessed home value is $234,000, which translates to a $206 tax increase.

“My thanks to the Monroe voters and for the hard work and collaboration of our department heads and our elected officials on Board of Education, Town Council and Board of Finance during this budget process,” Kellogg said.

Overall, unofficially, 1,739 of the town’s 13,657 registered voters cast ballots Tuesday. That was a decline of 326 from the number of voters in the last referendum two years ago, when 15.63 percent of registered voters hit the polls.

Last year, the referendum was canceled because of the pandemic under Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order that allowed the Board of Finance to approve the final town budget.

The education budget stands at $61.5 million, a $3 million — 5.16 percent —increase, while the municipal side rose 2.36 percent to $29.8 million, a $686,091 increase.

The Board of Finance’s budget includes using about $3 million of the unassigned fund balance in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget to keep taxes lower.

For the present fiscal year, the Board of Finance included $8 million from the fund balance to aid in keeping taxes lower. To date, Kellogg said he expects less than $4 million of that amount will be spent.

Kellogg said that without the town’s grand list growth, reductions in spending and use of alternative funding, taxes would grow at a rate he would be unwilling to place before the voters.

Kellogg said officials were able to keep town spending at only 2.36 percent growth, even while adding resources to the building department to enhance services and keep up with increased volume.

The first selectman said he also included funds for a newly envisioned economic development position that will also support securing grants and project management. The budget also increases funding for ongoing road improvements and paving, Kellogg said.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com