The City Council accepted a petition effort challenging the 2013 fiscal year budget on Monday, sending the appropriations to voters on Sept. 18.
On June 19, the council in approving a $42,323,256 municipal budget and $40,626,405 budget for the for the 2013 fiscal year. The budget increases the mill rate, or tax per $1,000 of value, by 1.91 to 27.22.
The budget eliminates 19 municipal positions. Twenty-four layoff notices issued to employees in the are also scheduled to go into effect following the council’s decision to with the firefighters’ union.
Last week, the city challenging the municipal budget. Petitioners needed 483 signatures, and 644 of the 784 names collected were valid.
Under the City Charter, the petition allowed the council to repeal all or part of the approved budget and tax rate in lieu of a referendum vote. The council unanimously opposed this action. Council President Michael Passero said he has heard varying opinions on the budget, with some residents saying they do not think the budget is adequate and others seeking to bring it down to the level of the 2012 fiscal year.
“It’s going to be very difficult to tell what the will of the people are without going to the polls,” he said.
The council unanimously agreed to schedule a special election on Sept. 18 for a referendum on the budget. Councilor Adam Sprecace said Aug. 14, the day of the state primaries, was also considered. This date was not viable because it fell within the 30 days’ notice required for scheduling elections.