SHERMAN -- Town voters on Saturday approved an $8.5 million education budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, but they rejected a $4.45 million municipal spending plan.
"Clearly, the majority of voters want the Board of Selectmen to go back and sharpen our pencils," First Selectman Clay Cope said after the proposed town-side budget was defeated by a count of 364-280.
Cope said he thought the budget was already lean heading into Saturday's referendum. But voter sentiment indicated the spending plan would likely have to be trimmed more before coming to another vote at a time to be determined.
"The people of Sherman want to see a positive solution," Cope said, "And we will find it."
The education budget passed by a count of 435 in favor, 217 opposed.
Until a municipal budget is passed, the town will be unable to set a mill rate for the coming year.
More than a fourth of the defeated municipal budget, or $1.2 million, had been related to debt-service payment. With the Emergency Services Facility coming online, an anticipated increase in operating expenses of $40,000 was proposed. The Senior Center budget was to increase by 16.1 percent or $8,725, due to the addition of a new clerk position and an increase in transportation costs for the meals on wheels program.
The $8.48 million education budget represents a 2.78 percent or $230,000 increase over the present year, due to an increase in Sherman eighth-grade students entering high school in the 2012-13 school year.