I urge all Brunswick voters to attend two upcoming meetings: Thursday evening, May 3, is the public hearing for the combined town/school budget for the next year; Monday evening, May 7, is the Town Council meeting to vote on the budget. Both meetings will be held at Town Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m. They will also be televised on Channel 3.

Budget decisions are crucial to local property tax rates. The Town Council voted in February to hold a total property tax increase to a 3.5 percent maximum, with the town getting 40 percent of total budgeted monies and schools getting 60 percent. This has been the traditional split.

The Town Manager has proposed a percentage budget increase for the town of 1.31 percent. This keeps the increase within the town’s alloted share. The School Board has proposed a budget increase of almost another 4 percent just for the schools. This does not reflect the Town Council’s request to “hold the line.”

Voters must speak up! While honoring the need to pay our teachers and educate the next generation well, the fact is that there are extravagant line items in the school budget. Remember also that we have both a new school and a new fire station that will be bonded and built in the next few years. The costs for these bonds will certainly increase property taxes to new high levels.

If we want to remain an inclusive community, we need to create a sustainable financial future. Right now, this means living within our fiscal means, for the schools as well as the town.

Please attend the public hearing on May 3 and the Town Council meeting on May 7 to listen, learn, and voice your opinion.

Sue Stableford

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