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{"id":965949,"type":0,"block_id":"davisdunavin_1366567177","theme_id":29,"user_id":271021,"path":"Budget-Questions","title":"","pubtitle":"Budget Questions","tags":"","public":true,"publicAccess":true,"private_link_enabled":0,"thumb":"https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/infogram-thumbs-200/davisdunavin_1366567177.jpg","width":654,"copyright":null,"properties":{"publishType":0,"transparent":false,"rtl":false,"export_settings":{"showGrid":true,"showValues":true},"whitelabel":false,"embed_button":"enabled","title_link":"infogram","custom_logo":"infogram","custom_link_url":"","embed_button_text":"Share","decimal_separator":".,"},"elements":[{"type":"chart","chart_id":1491786,"object_id":"davisdunavin_1366567747","chart_type_nr":23,"data":[[["First Selectman Pat Llodra","The original budget requested by the Board of Selectmen for 2013-2014 reflected an increase of 1.9%. That budget was subsequently increased $570,000 by the BoF and LC in order to provide funding for school resource officers for elementary schools and grants to non-public schools to be sued for security purposes. The BoS budget increase now stands at 3.3%.","","What would you advise residents to take into consideration as they vote?"],["Selectman Jim Gaston","I would remind residents that the world continues to watch us; particularly, they note how we care for our children, our teachers, our public officials and each other. If we treat each other with respect and dignity we can set a bold example. The present budget addresses the needs of the community. Let us stand up strong and agree that we are bold and moving forward, even as we continue to heal.",""],["Jeff Capeci, Legislative Council Chair","Everybody is an individual with different experiences biases, priorities, etc. A parent of a school aged student has different priorities than those of a senior citizen or an unemployed professional. Each person must carefully consider his or her own situation and decide whether or not this budget is right for them.",""],["Neil Chaudhary, Legislative Council","Clearly residents need to think about how the budget will affect them. However, this year there are some aspects of the budget that might influence the wellbeing of our youngest residents. Folks may opt to allow this to weigh into their decisions.",""],["George Ferguson, Legislative Council","First of all, I'd like to encourage everyone to vote. If there is good turnout, it means people are engaged. Then we elected officials get the benefit of their independent, confidential insights.",""],["Mary Ann Jacob, Legislative Council","I think residents should visit the town website and clearly understand the impact of the reevaluation on their own property taxes. That will allow them to make the most informed decision on whether or not they are financially able to support the requested increase. Then, I would ask them to consider that there are many unknown costs related to the Sandy Hook School shooting that will have to be taken into account next year that are not part of the budget which was created before 12/14. Then they can make a decision on whether or not they are willing to support the requested increase.",""],["Dan Wiedemann, Legislative Council","As hard as it may be, try to take emotion out of your vote. The repercussions of this vote will have some long term effects which will encumber our flexibility in the future.",""],["Paul Lundquist, Legislative Council","I believe there are aspects of this year’s BOE and Municipal budgets that are unprecedented, as a direct result of the events of 12/14. There are active, open grant applications within both the Municipal and BOE budgets focusing on security improvements for Newtown’s schools. The Municipal side of the budget has funds in the contingency account to cover expenses should its grant not come through. The BOE budget, however, has no such contingency funding available other than what’s available within the overall budget request. In addition, there may likely be additional unforeseen costs that arise in reaction to needed services as a result of 12/14. It’s for these reasons that I believe the overall BOE budget request is appropriate this year. So while I think every voter needs to consider what their own household can afford when casting their vote, I’d suggest special consideration this year, recognizing that a flat or minimal-increase budget is not appropriate at this time.",""]],[["First Selectman Pat Llodra","Under normal circumstances the Board of Selectmen would have more time to review and plan for additional funding and expanded services in order to meet public safety needs. The municipal budget proposal was completed prior to the school safety requests. I appreciate the willingness of the Board of Finance and Legislative Council to adjust the BoS budget in order to provide that funding.","","If circumstances had allowed, were there areas you would have liked to revisit?"],["Selectman Jim Gaston","No. The voters have the right to the collective thoughts and processes of the many Boards and officials who have scrutinized this budget.",""],["Jeff Capeci, Legislative Council Chair","As you know, I was in the minority on the education budget vote. I believe Newtown has a fairly thorough budget process; one more step than other area towns. I also believe between the Boards of Selectman, Education, Finance and Legislative Council, diligence was done on both budgets. I just happened to be in the minority opinion on the Legislative Council when it came to the vote. Money is being expended in areas where conservation would be prudent, in my opinion.",""],["Neil Chaudhary, Legislative Council","I don’t think “circumstances” prevented a proper review of the budget (and I assume here that “circumstances” refer to the events of 12/14). I certainly had the opportunity to visit the sections of the budget thoroughly and suspect that other town officials did also. I believe that the tragedy played a role in what parts of the budget dominated discussion and in decisions regarding the final budget.",""],["George Ferguson, Legislative Council","Circumstances were such that the Leaders of our community really had to react in extraordinary ways to the tragedy and its aftermath. This included caring of our children, families, teachers and staff. It also meant responding to heightened security concerns, a media siege and an outpouring of support, some it overwhelming, like 60,000 Teddy Bears. I can tell you that I witnessed a remarkable rallying and pulling together of the Town's staff and citizens. I voted to put the budget to the voters as it was presented to the Council.",""],["Mary Ann Jacob, Legislative Council","I'm confident that if the Board of Education had prepared a budget post 12/14, they would have requested different things than what the proposed budget asks for. As I said at our meeting, I think this budget requires a leap of faith which will allow the BOE to adjust their requested spending to the realities of a post 12/14 world. I trust Dr. Reed's judgement and I'm confident with his leadership that the money will be spent wisely.",""],["Dan Wiedemann, Legislative Council","Yes. For one the security issue. I would rather see the expense go to further secure the buildings, ie more secure doors windows etc., rather than police.",""],["Paul Lundquist, Legislative Council","As a member of the Legislative Council, I feel confident in the review process undertaken by our Education, Municipal Operations and Finance subcommittees (the first two of which I am part of), as well as by the LC and the BOF in general. But beyond that, I do wonder how the BOE budget might have been different if it was created post-12/14. I’ve little doubt it would be different in terms of some of the specific items and services requested, but there’s no telling whether it would have been higher or lower than the current request. And it’s this unknown impact that I feel warrants some flexibility in how the BOE spends its money this year to cover unanticipated needs in the next year, while still providing funding to cover core needs and basic initiatives.",""]],[["First Selectman Pat Llodra","I have had feedback primarily in two areas: strong support for the added school safety officers, and concern that road and drainage projects continue to be underfunded.","","What kind of feedback have you heard from residents?"],["Selectman Jim Gaston","The mood is thoughtful and responsive. As one person mentioned to me, &quot;we have a duty to be realistic, and that means not denying the needs that truly exist.&quot;",""],["Jeff Capeci, Legislative Council Chair","I am receiving mixed feedback. Some people agree with my sentiment, others believe that December 14 changed things and the budget is appropriate in its aftermath.",""],["Neil Chaudhary, Legislative Council","The residents I typically hear from tend to have younger children and seem to be in favor of the budget as it stands. I have also heard from folks in town meetings that the budget is too high.In all honesty I can see both points of views. My son is in first grade and I can easily see the need for a heavier budget to help address some of the new concerns that the town faces. That said, this is still a tough economy and I don’t see that Hartford or Washington are likely to make it any easier on us.",""],["George Ferguson, Legislative Council","I've not heard a great deal of feedback from residents about the budget. It's been very quiet out there.",""],["Mary Ann Jacob, Legislative Council","I have had almost no feedback from residents. I think people are still very focused on recovery and aside from the security piece, and possibly full day kindergarten people aren't focused on the issues.",""],["Dan Wiedemann, Legislative Council","As it has been in the past, the most vocal (via e-mails and meeting attendance) has been the pro-education lobby. In private and around town, I have been approached by people who say it is too high, but do not want to come forward for fear of ridicule due to the tragedy.",""],["Paul Lundquist, Legislative Council","I hear consistent, polar opposite responses to the notion of passing the budget. But compared to previous budgets, both extremes are muted this year. Opinions aren’t likely to have changed much, but I think people generally have little appetite to argue about it this year. That’s perfectly understandable, but I hope it doesn’t also mean there will be low turnout at the polls. It boggles my mind that residents are ok with the idea that it only takes abound 16%-17% of registered voters to tip the scale to Yes or No on our town budget (based on only around one-third of registered voters participating). I think the entire budget process would be far less emotional and contentious if everyone believed the outcome represented what the entire town truly wanted. Please vote!",""]],[["First Selectman Pat Llodra","Yes, I believe that voters will support the municipal budget request.","","Do you think the budget will pass on the first vote?"],["Selectman Jim Gaston","Yes. I believe in the Strength of Newtown to do good, realistically address the needs of he community, and move forward.",""],["Jeff Capeci, Legislative Council Chair","I do not have a good track record when it comes to predicting the outcome of budget referenda. Based on past experience I will say, &quot;No&quot;.",""],["Neil Chaudhary, Legislative Council","Who knows? It depends on the voter turnout. I highly encourage everyone to visit the BOE and town websites to learn the details about the budget and then get out and vote.",""],["George Ferguson, Legislative Council","I'd rather not guess about that; we'll know the outcome in a couple of days.",""],["Mary Ann Jacob, Legislative Council","I would not have supported the budget in its current form if I didn't believe it would pass.",""],["Dan Wiedemann, Legislative Council","From what I have heard I believe it will either narrowly pass or it will fail by a large margin.",""],["Paul Lundquist, Legislative Council","Short answer: Yes, I believe concern for school security, desire for full-day kindergarten, and general support for municipal services will drive passage on Tuesday. But also remember, “the budget” is actually two budgets this year due to bifurcation/separation of the BOE and Municipal budgets. And this point is critical -- whether you vote Yes or No, please be sure to answer the Advisory Questions. Most people I've spoken to still do not fully understand this… the advisory questions are not only for those who vote No. Even if you vote Yes, you need to give the LC guidance in case the budget fails. Should our response be to increase or decrease the budget? Most people I’ve spoken to believe the advisory questions are only looked at among those who vote No – this is not the case -- it can only be looked at among ALL voters in total. 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