The cost of democracy: additional funding sought for primaries
Published 1:50 pm, Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Democracy often does not come without a cost, and an item on the Board of Selectmen's agenda tonight proves that.
The selectmen will consider tonight a request to transfer additional funds from the town's contingency account to the Registrar of Voters budget for not one, but two primaries.
When it was predicted late last year that there would be just one primary, $20,000 in funding was set aside in the registrars' budget. Now, though, with both Democrats and Republicans set to primary next month, an additional $15,000 is needed, officials said.
"It's the cost of doing business," said Paul Hiller, the town's chief fiscal officer. "It's the cost of democracy."
Matt Wagner, the Democratic Registrar of Voters, said it's often difficult to estimate what the political landscape will be six months ahead of time. He thought there would be a need to request funds for two primaries, while Roger Autori, the Republican Registrar of Voters, thought neither party would have one.
In the end, a compromise was reached and funding for one primary was requested and approved.
First Selectman Ken Flatto said, "To my knowledge this is the first time that the town put money in the budget in advance of knowing whether or not there was going to be a primary."
"This request is not a surprise because the registrars had discussed the probability of more than one primary with the town boards," Flatto added.
The $15,000 now being requested will primarily pay for the staffing and other related costs of both primaries, according to Hiller. The Board of Selectmen meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Sullivan Independence Hall.
There are four contested races for Democrats and five for Republicans. The breakdown is as follows: