AUBURN — A school budget referendum recount will be held Monday, May 21, acting City Clerk Susan D. Clements-Dallaire said Tuesday.
She received a petition signed by 160 Auburn voters, 60 more than required.
“They did get more than the number we needed,” she said.
If the official 349-344 vote holds, the school budget is passed; but if the recount shows a tie, a second referendum will be needed.
When the polls closed May 8, the $35.9 million school budget initially was reported as a tie in an extremely low voter turnout.
The next morning when the numbers were rechecked, the official vote was reported by Dallaire as 349-344 in favor of passage.
That raised suspicions from Ron Potvin and other taxpayer advocates, who said the budget means a 5 percent increase from local property taxpayers, and a 5 percent hike was too much.
He requested a recount and was told state law requires a recount petition signed by 100 signatures of Auburn voters. Potvin and others worked over the weekend collecting signatures. He said he was “flooded” by phone calls from those who were opposed to a higher school budget and wanted to sign the document.
Potvin said many voters didn't realize the referendum is the final vote and they "did not realize the political shift last November” in new members of the City Council who were more open to more school spending.
For an Auburn home valued at $150,000, the budget means an increase in annual property taxes of about $66.
School Superintendent Katy Grondin has described the budget as frugal and said Auburn's per pupil spending of $8,050 is below the state average of $9,623.
At Monday's recount, members of the public are welcome to watch, Dallaire said. It will be held at 10 a.m. on the second floor of Auburn Hall.