Last night’s Annual Town Meeting was democracy at its finest in action. A packed auditorium of Wilton residents voters participated with civil comments and undisputed hand-count votes. There were 459 eligible voters in attendance, with approximate 30 guests segregated in their own section so there was no confusion about who could and couldn’t (or did) vote on motions. Robert’s Rules of Order kept the order (along with cucumber-cool moderator Scott Lawrence) as the Town approved a proposed budget that was exactly the same as town officials had spent the past 6-8 months preparing. [See our Live Blog coverage of last night’s total meeting for all the details on presentations by town officials and comments from the public.]

The proposed budget that was approved represents an overall mill rate increase of 1.51% over FY’18, or an overall budget for $127,563,331. Broken down that is $81,876,563 for the Board of Education (a 1.62% increase over FY’18) and $33,501,999 for the Board of Selectmen (a 0.88% increase over FY’18).

There was only one proposed cut to the Board of Education budget, for $1,306,000 (and another symbolic one of $1.00), that was debated and defeated.

Now, that proposed budget is turned over to voters to decide if they will approve it or not. Voting immediately began after last night’s meeting adjourned, but only a small percentage of attendees remained at the end to cast ballots. Voting will now continue Saturday, May 5 from 8:30 am.-6 p.m. at the Clune Auditorium.

Voting only takes three minutes. The registrars of voters run a very organized operation and there are plenty of sign-in lines and voting booths. It’s done by ballot and counted by a computer. What’s more, parking is ample. Whether you’ve got guests in town, or plans to be on the sports sidelines, or the weather is too beautiful–take part in our town’s governance. The vote determines how much you pay in taxes and how that money is spent–it’s the most direct demonstration of democracy in which you will ever participate.

The budget automatically passes if fewer than 15% of the registered voters cast votes; but in recent years more than 15% has been attending, but not by much. It’s never a sure thing, so every vote–either to approve or not–is important. Have your say, let your voice be heard.

If you can’t attend Saturday, absentee ballots are available at the town clerk’s office today through Friday (May 2-4, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

GOOD Morning Wilton will be on site at the end of the vote with a LIVE Facebook video story on results.

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