Town, school budgets can be authorized without public vote

Gov. Ned Lamont has waived the requirement that town and school budgets be approved by voters at a town meeting.

In his Executive Order issued Saturday, Lamont authorized the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education to vote on and approve their budgets without having any public hearings or a town meeting.

He wrote in the order, “The board of selectmen shall authorize the budget-making authority within said municipality to adopt a budget for the July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 fiscal year and to set a mill rate....”

He granted the Board of Education the same authority.

Wilton First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said she will be speaking with town counsel today to receive guidance on the governor’s order, and will update the public later tonight in an e-alert, as to what the budget process will be for Wilton.

“Just as my administration is working tirelessly to protect the health and safety of Connecticut residents, so to are our local mayors and first selectmen,” Lamont said. “During this unprecedented public health pandemic, it’s vital that we provide our local leaders with procedural relief.”

The order was one of a number of emergency steps the governor has taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Saturday, five deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Connecticut. There have been 223 cases reported statewide. In the U.S., there have been 26,909 confirmed cases, with 348 deaths reported.

Worldwide, there have been 317,300 cases of the virus reported, with 13,642 reported deaths. Italy continues to have a strong upswing, with 53,578 reported cases and 4,825 deaths.

Editor’s Note: This story was corrected to reflect that Wilton First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice is seeking town counsel opinion about the budget authority and who will be setting the mill rate.