New London voters to decide on budget referendum - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New London voters to decide on budget referendum

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NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

New London's budget battles will be decided at the ballot box.

Voters are heading to the polls in the Whaling City to decide on a referendum on whether to accept a $42 million budget.

But the budget comes with a 7.5 percent tax hike.

The battle over the budget has been waging in New London since the beginning of the year. Cuts were made while others were avoided.

The mayor said it's a fair budget, but others are saying the tax increase is just too much.

"It's been tough," New London Mayor Daryl Finizio said. "We've had to make some tough cuts. Every single department is spending less. We've had numerous employees laid off. We've had a lot of tough union negotiations."

Finizio described his proposed budget as lean and fair. Opponents feel the tax increase that would come with it, raising the mill rate to 27.22, is anything but.

"The city does need a tax increase, there's no doubt about that," said Gordon Videll. "But unfortunately, many of the people behind me holding yes signs don't live here and many of them have been led to believe they'll lose jobs and services are going to be cut."

On Monday, both sides rallied in anticipation and worked to get the word out and what they hope will be the vote out.

Finizio's past budgets included laying off police and firefighters. 

Those cuts were eventually avoided in the final budget, but there were nearly 20 municipal positions eliminated in the final draft.

"If the city goes bankrupt and it's taken over by the state, the tax increases imposed on us by the state would be far greater than the ones being imposed upon us by this budget," Finizio said.

Polls are open until 8 p.m.

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