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Weston’s Annual Town Budget Meeting is tonight

budget_calculatorWeston’s Annual Town Budget Meeting (ATBM) is tonight, Wednesday, April 24, at Weston High School.

Immediately after the ATBM, voters will have their first opportunity to cast ballots at a referendum to give final approval to the budget. Those who do not vote by machine on Wednesday may do so over the course of the next week by absentee ballot, or at a second machine vote next Thursday, May 2, at the Weston Middle School gym; polls will be open there from noon to 8 p.m.

Up for approval at the ATBM is the Board of Finance-approved total gross budget of $64,959,719, a $6,437 (0.01%) increase over the current year’s budget.

That includes a school budget of $45.5 million (a 0.03% decrease from the current year); a town operating budget of $11.7 million (a 3.52% increase); a $1.1-million capital budget (a 20.37% decrease); and a $6.5-million debt service budget (a 1.43% decrease).

If all portions of the budgets pass as proposed, the expected mill rate will be 23.89, a 0.54% decrease from this year’s rate of 24.02.

A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value on the grand list. The mill rate is derived by dividing the town’s grand levy (its debt) by the town’s grand list. The grand list is made up of real estate, personal property and motor vehicle assessments.

At a mill rate of 23.89, a taxpayer with property assessed at $500,000 would pay $11,945 in taxes next year, compared with $12,010 this year.

Voting specifics

The ballots used at the machine referendum do not have the budget numbers printed on them. The three questions on the ballot ask: Should the school/town/capital (each separate questions) budget, as approved by the Annual Town Budget Meeting (ATBM), be approved?

The specific budget numbers are available at town hall and will be posted outside the middle school polls next Thursday.

Voters must be U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age.

To vote at the referendum, one must be either be a resident of Weston who is registered to vote or a Weston taxpayer with at least $1,000 assessed value of property. Voters should bring identification to the polls.

Votes from the April 24 and May 2 machine votes, as well as those cast by absentee ballot, will be tallied after the middle school polls close at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2. Those results will be available at theWestonForum.com and in the May 9 edition of The Forum.

Absentee voting

Those who were not able to cast ballots Wednesday and are unable to do so on May 2 may vote on the budget by absentee ballot.

Absentee ballots for the referendum are available beginning Thursday, April 25. These ballots must be picked up in person or by a designee and must be returned to the town clerk before the May 2 referendum.

The town clerk’s office at Weston Town Hall is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Absentee ballots will not be mailed, as allowed by state statute when there are fewer than three weeks between finalizing the budget and the machine vote.

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