In a half-hour Meeting that was attended by only a handful of people, the Board of Finance passed the Mayor/Town Council Budget by a 4-2 vote. Shelly Pruss and Gale Alexander voted against.
The Budget provides for a 1.35% tax increase and now goes to the voters.
"The vote was what's best for the Community," said Mayor Murphy. "With this Budget we can still provide the services that people expect. If it doesn't pass, I have some real concerns."
Two motions were made to increase the BOE Budget. Both failed. The first motion was to add $750,000 to the School Budget, the second was to add $500,000. "People can afford it," Shelly said.
Board Member Frank Wargo disagreed saying that people he knows "aren't having a great year economically."
Member Gale Alexander, whose Budget books are still sitting in the Mayor's Office, was the lone opposing vote. If it was his intention to use the on-line edition of the Budget, he certainly could have saved the Town the printing cost by so advising.
Chairman Bob Sherry said that in prior years he supported putting money back in the education budget but "this isn't the time to do that given our economic condition.
"We all care deeply about education but based on the turnout at both the Public Hearing and our Meeting last night I think we did the right thing.
"I think that it's time for the BOE to tighten its belt. Last year it had a surplus of about $750,000.00."
In the past, some have said that the Town doesn't support education. "It's obvious that the Town supports education," said Mayor Murphy, "But right now we don't have money and we're worried about what's coming from the State.
"Don't support education?" Mayor Murphy asked. "All you have to do is take a look at the School's debt service -- all of which is on the Town side of the Budget -- and you'll see that we support education."