Ridgefield residents pass town budget in referendum despite low voter turnout

Photo of Shayla Colon
Ridgefield Town Hall

Ridgefield Town Hall

Macklin Reid / news@theridgefieldpress.com

RIDGEFIELD — Of Ridgefield’s roughly 19,000 registered voters, only about 1,300 cast ballots in the town’s referendum Tuesday, but it was enough to pass the town’s proposed spending plans.

Residents voted in favor of the proposed municipal and education budgets, allotting the town about $48 million and the school board $102.26 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The municipal budget vote was 1,108-207 in favor, while the schools budget was 977-339.

Voters also approved spending for capital improvement projects including road repairs, turf field replacement, school building upgrades and a body and dashboard camera system for the police department.

“There was nothing really controversial in the budget questions. What was disappointing was the turnout,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

With about 6.9 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, Marconi said his hope is to see the number of voters rise to over 10 percent.

The town’s finance board convened to determine the tax rate shortly after the budget was passed. Finance Board Chairman Dave Ulmer said the rate increased by 0.32 percent from 28.12 to 28.21 percent.

“It’s a very minimal impact. It’s three-tenths of one percent,” he said.

Marconi agreed and said the hit to taxpayers is “relatively minor,” noting the average Ridgefield taxpayer might pay around $13,000 a year in property taxes, which with the slight increase would tack on about $40 to their annual taxes.