By the time polls closed at 8 p.m., 560 votes had been cast — and 436 of them were in support of the $15 million spending package.
The final tally is as follows (including absentee ballots):
- 436 Yes
- 124 No
There were a total of 14 absentee ballots — 10 yes and 4 no.
"The day went smoothly," Moderator Mitch Goldblatt said. "We have an approved bond."
So What's Next?
The approval by Orange voters is but the first step in a lengthy process, according to First Selectman Jim Zeoli.
From here, the bond council and bond advisor will need to put together the package that will be put out to bid. In short, companies will submit offers and, in essence, compete to loan the town the $15 million, which would be paid back over a 20-year period, Zeoli said.
"While it's a huge bonded debt ... it's needed," Zeoli said. "These are needs, not wants."
"We're talking structurals and mechanicals," he added.
All of the projects — — will then be put out to bid, too. The hope is that work on some can begin this summer.
Zeoli said he'll likely be suggesting that the town create a committee — of folks from the town and school sides — to oversee the projects. The creation of that committee could come up as soon as the April Board of Selectmen meeting.
History Repeats Itself
The referendum fell right in line with past budget votes in Orange: low turnout.
Earlier in the day, Goldblatt had predicted, "It's not going to get great turnout."
Indeed, historical data provided by Town Clerk Patrick O'Sullivan backs up what Goldblatt, a selectman, said. Here's a snapshot of votes cast for past referendums (there are approximately 10,000 registered voters in Orange):
2012 Town Budget
- 275 Yes
- 143 No
2012 Amity BOE Budget
- 343 Yes
- 385 No
2011 Hubbell Property Purchase ($7.2 million)
- 1,645 Yes
- 336 No
2011 Town Budget
- 259 Yes
- 74 No
2011 Amity BOE Budget
- 305 Yes
- 283 No
"Generally speaking," O'Sullivan said, "non-controversial questions, issues lower turnout."