Alec Wargo, the outspoken head of the Taxpayers in Revolt, didn’t rule out the possibility that his group would petition a referendum on the 2012-13 budget.
But before deciding that, Wargo said Wednesday the advocacy organization, which focuses on keeping taxes low for borough residents, would wait and see what type of budget the joint Board of Mayor and Burgesses and Board of Finance adopts following tonights 6:30 p.m. meeting at .
“We’ll have to see what kind of budget they come up with,” he said.
Under a referendum, the voters of Naugatuck would decide on whether to accept or reject the 2012-13 budget, which currently is proposed at $109 million. This includes $3.5 million in spending hikes, or full 3.36 percent increase over last year’s $105.5 million budget.
If the borough adopts these figures, then the budget would receive its first substantial increase since 2009.
, “3.36 percent is definitely not acceptable to anybody.”
“This is not the time to raise rates so town employees can have raises,” he said. “The townspeople can’t afford it.”
Taxes would go up for all borough residents if the $109 million package is adopted, because the borough would increase the mill rate from 32.81 to 34.04 mills. , a resident with a home assessed at $150,000 could see a $180 increase on annual property taxes.
If the joint boards succeeded in bringing the budget down from 3.36 percent to an area between 1.5 and 2 percent, Wargo said his group might reconsider pushing for a referendum.
Board of Finance Chairman Robert Butler declined to comment as to what could be cut in the budget to bring the spending hike down, saying he’d be giving his opinion and not that of the full board.
But, he said tonight’s meeting “could be long,” as the finance board will discuss every comment made during Monday’s public hearing. He said everything is discussed in the open and there are no "back room politics" involved.
“This isn’t a ‘let’s vote on it and accept it-type thing,’” Butler said. “From a finance board perspective, we’re trying to look at it as, ‘what’s best for the town.’”
Borough Clerk Nancy DiMeo said a referendum requires signatures from at least 8 percent of the roughly 17,000 eligible Naugatuck voters.
The Taxpayers in Revolt , after garnering nearly 3,000 signatures last summer. because only six percent of borough voters, or just over 1,500, came out to actually vote in the polls, well below the 15 percent needed to validate the referendum.
Editor's Note: The 2011-12 mill rate was incorrectly listed as 32.02 rather than 32.81. This has since been corrected.