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Killingworth Budget Sent to Referendum

A successful petition drive by former first selectman Gerald Lucas has resulted in the town's first ever budget vote by referendum.

 

For years, Killingworth voters have voted on the budget at a town meeting.

That will not happen this year.

Former first selectman Gerald Lucas has successfully collected 275 (200 necessary) signatures to require the 2012-2013 budget be voted on by referendum.

In a press release sent Thursday, Killingworth resident Richard T. Ross, identifying himself as the spokesman for Lucas' Killingworth Watchdog Group, claimed that voting at a town meeting was "intimdating" because "raising their hand pits one neighbor against another."

Ross also said residents complained that the time of the meeting — 8 p.m. — was "inconvenient."

which is 4.5 percent lower than current spending.

In an interview with the Middletown Press, first selectman Cathy Iino questioned the rationale for the petition, indicating that residents might have been given incorrect information by the people collecting signatures.

A referendum, she told the newspaper, could cost $3,000 to $4,000.

Iino said the town's mill rate would increase by about 2 mills under the current budget proposal, but that 90 percent of residents would see a decrease in their tax bill.

Michael Hayes May 22, 2012 at 03:01 PM
to George Hedrick I was told the amount poll workers are compensated varies, but most are paid based on a per-hour figure determined by the town. Some are paid a flat fee because they are required to work more or they have a specific function, such as the poll tabulator.
Dave Adametz May 22, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Ms. Iino, your response is less than satisfying... 1) I need to remind you that the referendum isn't the will of only two or three people. As it meets the number of required signatures necessary to call a town referendum, by definition it legally represents the will of the people of Killingworth, so by definition it legally means the people of Killingworth don't agree with you. 2) You're championing a massive expenditure of $3.5 million on a new town hall addition that's going to take 30 years to pay off and yet you're bemoaning the $250 we need to pay for the gasoline to move everything. Would you mind explaining the logic behind that? 3) Now that we're having a referendum that grants people the right to privacy, I urge the people of Killingworth to cast an informed vote as their own conscience guides them, not the way Ms. Iino wants them to vote. The objective of the referendum isn't any different from what the objective would be by a show of hands- it's simply requesting the residents' acceptance of the town budget- so if a referendum may produce a different outcome than a show of hands then perhaps there's more substance to the accusation of voter coersion than meets the eye. I applaud Mr. McMahon and the other elected BOF members for their diligent work on the budget...but I think I can speak for them when I say they don't appreciate the possibility of residents being coerced into voting one way or the other, either.
Ed Ricciuti May 22, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Curious that people who invoke the image of Bunker Hill should discredit the town meeting, a hallowed tradition with roots deep in New England history. Lord, these poor souls need to get a life. If they want to spend time working for a better society, they ought to try working in a soup kitchen. Of course, they would not be noticed so that probably would not do. Ed Ricciuti
George Hedrick May 24, 2012 at 09:53 AM
Thanks Michael, I have been told the same thing. Ms. Lino stated $2,200.00 for poll workers and the registrars. I just wanted a break down. Specificaly, how many workers, compensation for each individual per hour flat whatever. It is not a difficult question. X amount of workers times , X amount dollars per person , times X hours worked is what?
Bill Romero May 24, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I think there is nothing wrong with the "proposed" budget. If there is something wrong with it, someone point it out and let's discuss it. Considering there seems to be little discussion with what was proposed, it makes "going to referendum" seem like a waste of money, in this situation. Town Hall meetings have been the traditional way of conducting Town business in New England. However, there is the issue (not currently up for a Town vote) of the renovation of the Town Hall. Yes, there are serious structural and safety issues there. Spending a few million to fix and renovate things would be nice, if we had the money in the bank. This money is not in the bank for us...unless Ms. Iino considers a bond issue and raising taxes on the Community...money in the bank? I may be out of the loop recently, do we know if the BOS has gotten estimates on fixing the specific things that need to be fixed? Let's compare that number to the engineering estimate for the major renovation. Currently the BOF has tabled taking action on this. I hope the BOF will request a comparison between the two approaches before taking action...

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