Vote today on Tolland budget and firehouse upgrades

Michelle France, Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn.
·3 min read

May 4—TOLLAND — Registered voters have until 8 p.m. to cast their vote on the Town Council's proposed $58,214,880 budget for the next fiscal year, and a $5 million capital improvement project to expand and renovate three of the town's fire stations.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. in the gym at the Tolland Recreation Center at 104 Old Post Road.


WHAT: Referendum on the proposed $58.2 million budget for the next fiscal year and a $5 million capital improvement project to renovate and expand three of the town's fire stations.

WHERE: Tolland Recreation Center gym, 104 Old Post Road.

TIME: Polls close at 8 p.m.

Democratic Registrar of Voters, Michael R. Wyman told the Journal Inquirer today that as of 9:20 a.m., 186 residents had cast ballots in person. Coupled with the 108 absentee ballots already submitted, the town had received 294 votes up to that point. There are 10,502 eligible voters in town, Wyman said.

That's a 2.8% voter turnout for the morning, he said.

"It's very low," Wyman said. "We thought we would have a bigger turn out than this. It's been raining so maybe some people were thinking of doing it later in the day. We were hoping for about 30% or more."

The proposed $58,214,880 budget is to fund the town and school for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The budget was adopted by the Town Council last month in a 5-2 partisan vote.

The budget reflects an increase in spending of 1.81% and requires a new tax rate of 37.11 mills to fund it. One mill is equal to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

Two democrats on the council, Vice Chairman Steve Jones and Councilwoman Brenda Falusi, opposed the budget due to revisions made by the council that reduced budget recommendations made by Town Manager Michael Rosen and School Superintendent Walter Willett.

The second referendum question on the ballot asks voters to approve a $5 million capital improvement project to expand and correct issues with three of the town's fire stations. The project will fix several issues at the stations including leaky roofs, crumbling foundations, and make room for sleeping and eating quarters, storage, and a safe space for decontamination.

Last month, Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order to allow residents to vote for the referendum by absentee ballot due to the risk of COVID-19.

State law had previously allowed votes by absentee ballot only if one could not appear at their assigned polling place on Election Day because of active military service, absence from the town during voting hours, illness, physical disability, religious tenets forbidding secular activity on the day of the election, or working as an election official at a polling place other than their own through the entire vote.

For updates on the towns of Coventry and Tolland, follow Michelle France on Twitter: @MFranceReport, Facebook: Michelle France, and Instagram: @MFranceReport.