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On Tuesday April 1st the voters of Monroe went to the polls to vote on the proposed 2014-2015 annual Town

of Monroe budget. As this vote got defeated by 229 votes, we must go to a second referendum on Tuesday April 22nd. While listening to the comments from our Superintendent, elected officials on the Board of Education, Town Council, Board of Finance and you the voters, I heard varied responses on what adjustments if any should be made. One thing I heard loud and clear from every elected official that this was a solid budget and I do commend these officials for the transparent and very public way their workshops were conducted. The fact remains; the Town of Monroe is a great town with much to offer our residents. There are many more fixed costs than ever before and there are services that must be maintained now and not kicked down the road thus costing us more in the future. In the past as a town we have as they say been there, done that and we are paying for it now. Last night many of our elected officials said that again last night. So where do we go from here? Many have told me it was a great budget, put it back out and get more people to vote. Others have told me, Make them pay for not voting cut services and hours of the library, parks, pool and the Senior Center. Some have told me cut education. Some have told me cut roads, public safety and building maintenance. As much as I feel that the budget as presented on April 1 is the best budget to keep us current with the plethora of unfunded State and Federal mandates, more people voted no than voted yes and adjustments must be made! For the Town Departments, I have deferred or reduced equipment/supply purchases for our volunteer fire services and our Police Department. Although these items are needed, they are not life saving or mandated at this time and while needed to upgrade aged equipment it was an addition, in dollars to the budget. These reductions reduced the town portion of the budget $45,137. For the Board of Education, after speaking with the Superintendent, we have reduced the funded allocation by $75,000.

As I have mentioned numerous times, we as a town MUST: maintain our services, and in many cases, create better services for our tax dollar fund the growing list of unfunded State and Federal mandates balance the needs of all residents regardless of the willingness or ability to pay for these services This adjusted budget being presented contains: One of the lowest Mill Rate increases in our region (2.20) Continued funding for our Roads Continued funding for our Infrastructure Needs (both Town and Education) Continued funding for Public Safety, our Parks, Library and Seniors Funds to assure a quality educational experience for our children

I appreciate all the input we have received and believe we have produced a budget we can all be proud of. I hope you will support our plan with your vote on Tuesday April 22nd.