RSU 73 voters head to polls for third time Tuesday
JAY - Residents of the RSU 73 towns will return to their local polling place Tuesday, in a third attempt to validate a school budget for the current fiscal year.
On Aug. 14, roughly 60 residents passed the $18.59 million budget recommended by the administration and school board. On Tuesday, Aug. 21, voters will answer a single question, whether they approved of the action taken at the budget meeting. A 'yes' vote approves the budget. A 'no' vote would restart the process, resulting in a fourth round of board workshops, budget meetings and validation votes.
The $18.59 million budget incorporates three rounds of cuts: voter-initiated reductions at the first budget meeting in June, then two rounds of board-approved cuts after the first two failed validation votes. In all, $428,748 has been cut from the $19 million budget originally proposed by the school board. According to the administration, $9,000 has been spent on running the additional validation referendums.
The budget as currently proposed is up $185,122 from the previous fiscal year, which ended in June. That would represent a 1 percent increase to the budget, down from 3 percent at the beginning of the budget process. If approved at referendum, the budget would represent a $574,000 increase in the Jay local tax assessment, compared to the previous fiscal year. However, that $8.74 million local assessment would be $384,000 less than the 2010-11 fiscal year's assessment. Livermore and Livermore Falls would see small decreases in their local tax assessments, $7,000 and $19,000 decreases, respectively.
The administration and school board has argued that the impact of the school district on local taxes has decreased since the 2003-04 fiscal year. According to a presentation made by Superintendent Robert Wall before the Aug. 14 budget meeting, the school budget's impact on Jay taxes had decreased by more than $2 million from between 2003-04 fiscal year's budget to the current 2012-13 budget.
Relatively low voter turnout has characterized previous budget meetings and validation votes. On June 12, 1,376 votes were cast at the referendum validation vote. On July 24, 561 fewer voters turned out to reject the second budget validation.
Polls open at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and remain open until 8 p.m. Livermore and Livermore Falls residents votes at their respective town offices, Jay residents casts ballots at the Jay Community Building.