The Board of Finance unanimously approved a $125,647,667 town budget, a 3.28 percent increase, at Tuesday night's public hearing.

The amount to be raised by taxation for the general fund is at a 2.79 percent increase without a contribution to the general fund that should bring it down to the 2.5 percent maximum First Selectman Rob Mallozzi requested; the budget must go before the Town Council, which can make changes, for final approval.

Officials and residents spoke briefly about various budget issues. Town Council member Penny Young said she hopes the town would reinstate membership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities for $12,398. Mallozzi had reportedly conducted a survey among town employees and officials on how often they use the CCM for research and workshops and he determined the resources weren't used much.

"But I do know that the Town Council does use it," Young said. "I have used CCM extensively."

Kim Norton, a resident and mother, had concerns about future capital projects for the Board of Education. She was concerned about future renovations and the possible contamination of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, something she experienced when she was on a building committee for a school in the state of New York. She was happy that Superintendent Dr. David Abbey and the board decided to postpone $575,000 worth of capital projects, many of which included window renovations where she said PCBs are generally found. She encouraged the Board of Finance to suggest to the Board of Education that it focus on environmental pre-testing for these renovations.

"Testing in advance prepares the school district for emergencies in the future," Norton said. "Postponing complicated and costly window projects is the first step toward approaching this renovation process mindfully. Putting in place an environmental pre-testing budget for this year and ongoing years will put safeguards in place for our children's health."

Abbey assured Norton that the board and administration were mindful of those issues.; 203-972-4413;

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