$22.2M budget gets little discussion; Selectman disappointed at low turnout.


Byline: Jim Esslinger

THOMPSON - A small number turned out last night to discuss the town's proposed 2009 fiscal budget of $22.2 million, reminiscent of last year's annual town meeting, which eventually turned into two more when voters rejected the spending plan.

The budget drew little discussion from the three-dozen voters who attended. The budget will go to a referendum May 29. Last year, it took three town meetings and as many referendum votes before voters approved the 2008 budget of $21.1 million. Town officials are hoping history does not repeat itself.

"I've learned not to make predictions about how the townspeople will vote," said First Selectman Lawrence Groh. He said he has heard some talk about the budget around town in recent days, but expects the chatter to increase as the referendum gets closer.

Voters must approve budgets at a referendum. .

The final budget recommendation came as departments were forced to make cuts.

The general government operating budget comes in at $6.3 million, while the school board is asking for nearly $15.9 million. The mill rate was set at 17.97, a one mill increase over last year.

Mr. Groh was a bit disappointed at last night's low turnout.

"I was hoping for more people to give us more of a discussion," he said. "It would give us a better sense of...

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