Town Council members decided they were pleased with the town budget proposed by Town Manager Peter Souza, approving the proposal Wednesday during a preliminary vote, and scheduling the town's annual budget referendum.
Council members decided not to make any additional cuts. They even added a $30,000, to be taken from the town's reserve, to pay for the replacement of thermal safety cameras used by the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department.
Councilor Don Jepsen (R) said the budget "is about as good a budgt as we could come up with given the realities" of the economy.
Other than one "no" vote from Councilor Aaron Jubrey on the Public Works budget, Councilor Lisa Boccia was the only consistent voice of dissent throughout the preliminary vote held.
The Coucilwoman voted against the council's approval of 14 out of 26 sections of the budget proposal.
"I hear the people saying 'zero', and I don't think enough has been done to seriously look at and say 'How do we get to (a zero-percent budget increase), or at least to less than 2.8 percent," Boccia said after the Council's meeting.
"I hope people come out to vote on referendum day. All I've heard is 'no, no, no.' I was put here to do what the people wanted, and that's what they asked for."
With the Council's decision to send the Town Manager's 2.8-percent overall increase to referendum it also voted to approve proposed funding for both First Town Downtown and SummerWind.
"We're very happy with the vote," said FTDT Coordinator Ashley Dufresne. "This means all the work we've done can continue, including all of the community events we hold."
While she did not criticize funding for FTDT or SummerWind, Boccia said the Council could have taken a closer look at the portion of the budget that includes funding for the two programs.
"There's $100,000 in the secion of the budget that First Town Downtown and the Chamber (of Commerce) are part of. There are other things in there that don't directly benefit Windsor's residents; probably $50,000 worth.," said Boccia, who added she has spoken with residents who expressed a willingness to pay for recycling services in order to decrease the proposed budget increase and tax hike.
The includes funding for groups, including regional organizations, such as .
There are also salary increases included in this budget, said Boccia.
"I believe there are increases for salary people, people who are not represented by a union... People in private-sector jobs have not had raises if they're not in a union. My last paying position I worked at, we went five years with no salary increases while our healthcare costs were going up. I don't know why Town employees can't be asked to do the same thing," Boccia added.
The Council set the annual referendum for Tues., May 15. All polling places are scheduled to be open from 6 a.m. - 8 p.m.