A 550 signature to “overturn the budget” was delivered to the town clerk Monday in an effort to “take the budget to a town meeting.”
But organizers said that despite the effort, it will be “denied.”
“Denied …due to a new ruling by the town attorney,” according to petition supporter James Andriote Sr., chairman of Independence for Montville Party. “And an error made by the Town Council chairperson about the procedure following the mayor’s veto.”
Indeed, a special Town Council meeting has been called for tonight at 6 p.m. to specifically amend one resolution – the veto vote of several weeks ago – and put in its place a substitute resolution that puts the slashed $29,079 land use assistant post back in the budget and cuts other line items including $25,000 for police weapons and ammunition.
Now, according to procedures under the town charter, the “changes that (supporters of the petition and others) that were to be recommended at the town meeting have been voided,” Andriote said.
“We must again seek signatures to petition the budget unless the council approved our recommendations…obtained through numerous members of the Republican Town Committee, the Independence for Montville Party and various taxpayers,” he wrote in a press release Monday.
The reason petitioners may need to go back to square one is that currently the budget resolution is suspended; since the council didn’t vote to overturn the mayoral line item veto on the planner job, it needs to revisit that line item and when it does that tonight, the council could call that action a sufficient change in the budget which would negate the need for a town meeting. Hence Andriote’s statement about the necessity to start the petition process all over again.
Some of the suggested cuts by the Republican Town Committee and others, according to Andriote included $15,000 in police overtime, $75,000 from the department of public works for items like sand, $138,000 from the capital plan and myriad other cuts totaling some $527,000. In addition to the cuts, they wanted to see $166,000 added back in to the education budget to prevent the layoffs.
Two weeks ago Town Attorney Eileen Duggan advised the council that citizens were not permitted to petition the mill rate. On June 5, the council