A review of the current budget proposal to be voted on by our residents on Tuesday has led the Sidney Board of Selectmen to oppose this budget, and we urge our neighbors to defeat it.

The proposed budget represents a 4.55 percent increase over the budget approved by voters last year, but this budget would result in a 13.3 percent increase to the town of Sidney. Much of the additional increase is because of reduced funding from state sources.

We, as a board, struggled with the budget as proposed, particularly the full impact of the increase to our town. Last year, RSU 18 represented 84.46 percent of our property tax collections. This budget, if passed, would increase this relative cost.

Upon further review of the financial information presented to the board, we find that the real increase from projected final 2014 expenses to the current request represents a 7.88 percent increase, which is a request that we cannot support and we don’t believe our tax-paying residents can either.

Our projections show a budget surplus, or savings, in RSU 18 of a little less than $1 million, the bulk of which ($960,000) is found under “regular instruction.” We have asked for an explanation from the RSU, but have received none.

This lack of information is coming from an administration that has preached transparency in its dealings with the public about the transition to mass customized learning, which instead was thrown on students and parents without adequate forewarning and despite strenuous objections from many parents.

This board is fully committed to supporting our students in RSU 18, however, we cannot support this budget when there are several basic — yet large dollar — questions that the administration has so far refused to answer.

Doug Eugley, on behalf of Sidney Board of Selectmen

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