Throughout the state, Election Day Registration drew a surge of voters to the polls, and it was no different in Southington as long lines kept registrars busy on Election Day.
Still, local registrars tracked voter turnout every three hours and compared each tally to the 2012 presidential election turnout. Each checkpoint showed an increase in participation.
“The overall voter turnout at the election was 84.5 percent, a record for modern times,” said registrar Robert Sherman.
Demographically, the town is run by Republican majorities and supermajorities on all major boards and commissions, but Southington still has more registered Democrats (8,146) than Republicans (7,134).
The large number of registered independent voters (12,079) and those supporting other parties (531) significantly favored Republicans in the 2016 election.
But when it came to the one referendum on the ballot, support was bi-partisan.
Southington voters overwhelmingly approved the motion to appropriate $57,100,000—reduced by grants received—for improvements to the Southington Water Pollution Control Facility.
The measure received 15,023 “yes” votes and 5,871 “no” votes.
Passing the referendum means that the town will receive over $17 million in federal and state grants and will qualify for a 2 percent Clean Water Loan, which is lower than the cost through bonding.
Officials expect the project to be finished before the 2022 environmental standards go into effect, saving the town up to $13.5 million per year in fines.
The Town of Southington went to great lengths to inform the public about the necessary work to complete the project.
“I am convinced that all of the efforts to inform and educate the citizenry helped,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback. “The video, the public outreach and the support of the local media all contributed to the successful referendum.”
Town officials saw this project as a priority and made an informational video, and updated links on their website to provide information about the referendum and where the money would go. Now that it passed, residents will see a tax break due to the grants and loans that Southington qualifies for.
Brumback said that the plant is an aging infrastructure that must be maintained. “The staff is professional and only spends money when it is necessary,” he said. “We have worked hard on creating a climate of trust between our staff and the public, and I think it is working.”
Photos by Jen Cardines
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