WINTHROP — First, the School Board approved a series of cuts Monday evening that lopped $117,000 from the proposed budget for the 2012-2013 school year. Then the Town Council took a turn, reopening the town budget adopted June 4 and removing $120,000, voting to use surplus funds for road maintenance rather than using property taxes.

The result means the town’s taxpayers would pay more next year — roughly 4 percent more — but not as much as under previous incarnations of the budgets.

Council Chairman Kevin Cookson said the cuts would bring the tax rate to $14.24 per $1,000 worth of property value. It is now $13.68 per $1,000.

The council later approved a $2.3 million municipal budget, which includes the county tax.

Nearly 70 people turned up to hear what reductions were made to make the school budget more palatable. It was rejected at the polls June 12, and the new $10 million budget draft will be up for another public vote July 10.

Some people were still dissatisfied.

“Why shut down the second floor of the grade school to save money and then reopen it?” Sandy Steele asked, frustration apparent in her voice. “We voted on this budget, and it was turned down.”

She sought a long-term fix but also said she was being forced to leave.

“I have lived in my house 38 years, and I’m selling it because I can’t afford it, because my taxes have doubled and more so.”

Steele also suggested a closer look at Police Department staffing.

Steve Curtis said he wanted to see more cooperation on budgets between the schools and the town.

“The school budget shouldn’t come last; it should come first. It’s the highest priority,” he said.

Jennifer McConnell, too, urged more cooperation to avoid a division in town.

Charlie Stratton recommended ignoring federal mandates for funding special education. “That’s outrageous,” he said.

Residents’ frustration was evident at the second meeting as well, as they suggested changing policies and asking for “a little give on the public employees’ side as well,” John Callinan said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

 


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