KILLINGWORTH — Despite concerns about low voter turnout and “vote no” signs scattered along roadways, the first town budget referendum in Killingworth history approved the $4.18 million budget for 2012-13.
The vote, mandated by a petition drive led by former First Selectman Gerald Lucas, was 432 in favor and 312 opposed for the town budget, and 426 in favor and 309 opposed for the $675,000 capital expenditures budget.
Voter turnout was 17.6 percent, which compares to a turnout of about 10 percent for the recent referendum in which the Region 17 school budget was approved.
Finance board Chairman John McMahon said, “I’m delighted with the result, and happy that the voters made their way through a lot of misinformation” generated by the group that sought to defeat the budget.
Lucas and his supporters petitioned for the referendum despite the proposed 4.5 percent reduction in spending. Town officials believe the move may be unprecedented in state history because referendum petitions invariably are prompted by budget increases.