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CLT UPDATE
Thursday, June 17, 2010

All 10 Marblehead Prop 2˝ overrides defeated;
Revolution 2010 is in the air!


 

Fearful Marblehead voters rejected all 10 debt exclusion overrides in Tuesday's special election....

Voter turnout was high - 5,880 or roughly 32 percent....

Tuesday's ballot featured a record-setting 10 debt exclusion overrides with a total value of $56.9 million....

The Lynn Daily Item
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Marblehead voters reject all overrides


The Marblehead rejection follows similar news in Belmont on Monday, where residents rejected a $2 million Proposition 2˝ override that would have allowed the town to restore police and fire positions and avoid some significant cuts in the schools next year....

Marblehead voters in recent years had been supportive of Proposition 2˝ tax increases, approving six debt exclusions and an operational override between 2005-2009.

The Boston Globe - North Edition
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Marblehead voters reject all 10 ballot measures to hike taxes


"It's a loss for the town," School Committee Chairwoman Patricia Blackmer [who also chairs the Glover School Building Committee] said of the outcome. "It's a missed opportunity." ...

If all 10 overrides passed, it would have cost the average Marblehead taxpayer roughly $500 more a year. Voters, however, clearly had no appetite for a tax increase.

"Maybe there was too big a menu, too many items," said Phil Sweeney, chairman of Marblehead's library trustees....

The Glover project has to be funded with an override, Blackmer said. "We don't have the money in the operating budget," she said....

"We'll be back before the town," Blackmer said.

The Salem News
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Voters lack inclination to override Prop. 2˝


Vote Totals


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

If it can happen here in Marblehead, it can happen anywhere.

Longtime CLT member Jack Buba did an incredible job organizing the opposition to a $500 (average home) tax hike with signs, bumper stickers, yard signs, and robo-calls to turn out the vote. This incredible success for Marblehead taxpayers wouldn't have happened without his remarkable, tireless efforts -- and that of so many others in his "Not Now, We're In A Recession" committee.

[Barbara's Salem News column: Seeking a cure for override fever in Marblehead]

 

Bumper sticker on my SUV

"Marblehead voters in recent years had been supportive of Proposition 2˝ tax increases, approving six debt exclusions and an operational override between 2005-2009," the Boston Globe North edition's John Laidler reported, and that's the truth. Barbara and I hoped for the best but prepared for the usual -- the Beautiful People and Trustafarians who have controlled town meeting for years outvoting the stretched and struggling oldtime Townies, as usual.

For a Boston Globe "Override Central" blog on May 7, 2008, regional editor David Dahl asked Barbara to write a short column, which was titled "From Barbara Anderson, a little history." In it she described a scene from a recent Marblehead town meeting we'd attended:

"This year, forced to recognize that some people can’t afford to pay more, override proponents are stating their sympathy before arguing for the override anyhow. Clearly they don’t care that a tax increase is a pay cut for people on fixed incomes, or who are unemployed; sometimes they suggest that such people might want to live somewhere else that is more affordable for them. At a Marblehead Town Meeting several years ago, a woman responded to a senior citizen’s concern that 'if you can’t afford this, perhaps you aren’t managing your portfolio properly.'"

After the recent stock market plunge, perhaps that woman -- and many of the other Beautiful People and Trustafarians -- have discovered that neither have they!

When the voting returns came in on Tuesday night, we were stunned: Ten defeats, every override shot down in flames -- here!

"Disappointed" School Committee and Glover School Building Committee chairwoman Patricia Blackmer vowed that, despite the voters' decision, "the effort to get the school built will continue."

"We will regroup and do what we need to do to gain support for the project," she said . . . "We'll be back before the town."

Unfortunately, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" and of course tax-and-spenders -- like The Terminator -- will be back, until they wear taxpayers down or get lucky with a low turnout when nobody's looking or away on vacation.

This is why CLT filed a bill in 2007 (S-1702) to require a year's interval between similar overrides; again in 2009 (S-1232) to restrict overrides to biennial state elections -- not incessantly as soon as one is defeated. Neither has become law.

Chip Ford


 

The Boston Globe - North Edition
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Marblehead voters reject all 10 ballot measures to hike taxes
By John Laidler


In a sweeping rejection of higher taxes, Marblehead voters on Tuesday defeated 10 ballot measures to exceed the town’s property tax limits for various capital projects.

Among the defeated tax proposals were measures to fund the $28.8 million cost of building a new elementary school, and the $22.2 million cost of capping the former town landfill and building a new transfer station on the site.

All of the questions were soundly defeated except for the school construction measure, which lost by 2,953 to 2,882.

The Marblehead rejection follows similar news in Belmont on Monday, where residents rejected a $2 million Proposition 2˝ override that would have allowed the town to restore police and fire positions and avoid some significant cuts in the schools next year.

Marblehead Board of Selectmen chairman James E. Nye said he was not surprised by the outcome, attributing it to the difficult economy.

"I work at a bank and I know things are tight," said Nye, who is president of the National Grand Bank, in Marblehead.

If all 10 ballot questions had passed, they would have added $423 to the tax bill of a median home valued at $512,000 this fiscal year.

The annual town meeting in May authorized funding for the projects contingent on passage of the ballot questions, eight of which were debt exclusions, or temporary tax increases to repay debt, and two of which were capital exclusions, or one-year tax hikes.

Marblehead voters in recent years had been supportive of Proposition 2˝ tax increases, approving six debt exclusions and an operational override between 2005-2009.

The proposed new elementary school would be built on the site of the Glover School and serve as a consolidation of the Glover and Eveleth schools. The proposal assumes state reimbursement, tentatively set at 40 percent of the cost.

School Committee chairwoman Patricia Blackmer said the committee is disappointed, but that the effort to get the school built will continue.

"It’s still a 90-year-old building that has significant deficiencies and is not handicap accessible," she said of the original section of the Glover. "We will regroup and do what we need to do to gain support for the project."

A residents’ group calling itself, "Not Now, We’re in a Recession," campaigned actively to defeat all 10 ballot questions.

"The people of Marblehead sounded a resounding "Not now, we’re in a recession" to our town leaders today. Many residents, including those on fixed incomes, those who have lost their jobs or are worried about losing their jobs, will rest a little easier tonight," Jack Buba, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement released after the outcome was announced Tuesday night.


The Lynn Daily Item
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Marblehead voters reject all overrides
By Jack Butterworth


MARBLEHEAD - Fearful Marblehead voters rejected all 10 debt exclusion overrides in Tuesday's special election.

The one that came closest to passing was the new $28.8 million Glover-Eveleth School, which garnered 2,953 "No" votes and 2,882 "Yes" votes - a 71-vote loss.

All the other questions, including the state-required $22.2 million landfill cap and transfer station construction project, failed by margins of about 2-1.

Voter turnout was high - 5,880 or roughly 32 percent.

Tuesday's ballot featured a record-setting 10 debt exclusion overrides with a total value of $56.9 million. A simple majority was required to pass each of the questions. Funded by bond issues, the borrowing required for all 10 questions would have added 83 cents to the town's $9.57 tax rate, or $423.27 to the $4,900 annual tax bill for a $512,000 median home, an 8.6 percent hike for the first year.

"It's back to the drawing board," Director of Public Health Wayne Attridge said about the landfill and transfer station plan. "I'll have to talk about this with the Board of Health."

School Committee Chairman Patricia Blackmer, who also chairs the Glover School Building Committee, called the school vote "incredibly disappointing" and "a loss for the town."

Obviously emotional, she declined to rule out a request for a recount.

"We have to retrench," she said. "We will come back and ask again. We can't do nothing so we will be back."

The $28.8 million new building cost included $11.18 million in Massachusetts School Building Authority reimbursement, or 40 percent. The town was grandfathered in at 40 percent because the state is no longer offering that much.

The school figure would have been funded with a 20-year bond issue, adding 24.7 cents to the tax rate and $126.55 to the annual median home tax bill.

Blackmer admitted that the 10-question ballot "could feel overwhelming."

"But I would hope that people could take a look at each question and vote on them individually," she said.

Jack Buba, leader of the group "Not Now, We're in a Recession" that opposed all the overrides, offered a prepared statement Tuesday evening:

"The people of Marblehead sounded a resounding 'Not now, we're in a recession' to our town leaders today. Many residents, including those on fixed incomes, those who have lost their jobs or are worried about losing their jobs, will rest a little easier tonight."

"I hope the town leaders will listen to the voice of the people. The Board of Health should go back to the drawing board and come to the voters with a much more modest and total solution to the dump issues so we can comply with the state mandate."

"I also hope that the town leaders do not show disrespect to the citizens who voted today and begin a tedious round of 'do-over overrides.' Our selectmen should ensure that the will of the people is heard and wait at least until next year's Town Meeting before reconsidering any other articles."

The other questions included a $706,961 landfill monitoring program, the $899,955 purchase of a landfill-contaminated home at 57 Stony Brook Road, $100,000 for additional sidewalk repair, purchase of a vacant 195 Pleasant St. gas station, the $1.64 million Pleasant Street traffic safety program (including a $400,000 Massachusetts Highway Department grant), $292,394 for access improvements at Abbot Public Library, $1.5 million for Astro-turf at the Marblehead High football field and $450,000 for furniture and technology purchases for the new Marblehead Village School.


The Salem News
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Voters lack inclination to override Prop. 2˝
By Matthew K. Roy


MARBLEHEAD — Voters yesterday rejected all 10 Proposition 2˝ overrides on the ballot here, including a proposal to fund construction of a new Glover School.

The $29 million school project failed by 71 votes, 2,953 to 2,882.

"It's a loss for the town," School Committee Chairwoman Patricia Blackmer said of the outcome. "It's a missed opportunity."

The state promised to reimburse the town for 40 percent of the school project's costs, and school officials last night were hoping the result at the polls did not put that in jeopardy.

If all 10 overrides passed, it would have cost the average Marblehead taxpayer roughly $500 more a year. Voters, however, clearly had no appetite for a tax increase.

They shot down a plan to cap the old landfill and build a new transfer station. They said no to the installation of artificial turf at the high school's Piper Field, and no to technology upgrades and new classroom furniture at Village School.

Proposed renovations of Abbot Public Library; the redesign, including traffic light upgrades, of the Pleasant Street corridor; and the purchase of two properties, 195 Pleasant St. and 57 Stony Brook Road, failed. Voters also would not support a tax increase to fund continued environmental testing at the old landfill or $100,000 to repair sidewalks throughout town.

"Maybe there was too big a menu, too many items," said Phil Sweeney, chairman of Marblehead's library trustees.

With all the choices before them, Blackmer was counting on voters to be "discriminating consumers."

"I think if you invest in your schools and your community, you invest in your property values," she said.

The Glover project has to be funded with an override, Blackmer said. "We don't have the money in the operating budget," she said.

"It's a project that needs to happen," former School Committee member Amy Drinker said.

That means voters will likely have their say again next spring.

"We'll be back before the town," Blackmer said.


By question, vote totals were as follows:

Question 1: Landfill Closure and Transfer Station
YES: 1,956
NO: 3,875

Question 2: Monitoring, Assessment, Engineering Old Landfill
YES: 2,424
NO: 3,372

Question 3: Stony Brook Road Land Acquisition
YES: 2,386
NO: 3,383

Question 4: Sidewalk Repair and Reconstruction
YES: 1,639
NO: 4,184

Question 5: Pleasant Street Land Acquisition
YES: 1,869
NO: 3,896

Question 6: Pleasant Street Corridor Improvements
YES: 1,867
NO: 3,930

Question 7: Abbot Public Library Renovations
YES: 2,097
NO: 3,705

Question 8: Artificial Turf, Piper Field
YES: 1,723
NO: 4,097

Question 9: Glover School Construction
YES: 2,882
NO: 2,953

Question 10: Village School Technology and Furniture
YES: 2,375
NO: 3,432

(Source: The Marblehead Reporter, "Marblehead voters say 'Not Now,' reject all 10 overrides")

 

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Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665