$6.5 Million Override Election on Tuesday
Polls open at 7 a.m and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
The time to vote on Arlington's proposed nearly $6.5 million override is here. Polls open at 7 a.m and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
The proposed override, of $6,490,000, would increase property taxes by 7.5 percent and the property tax rate by 94 cents per every $1,000 of assessed value, according to the board. Therefore, the median home value in Arlington of $480,000 would see a $450 increase on its property tax bill.
The Board of Selectmen said if the proposed override passes, the town would be able to maintain services for at least three years, restore the public schools’ core services and spend money on “much needed” road improvements.
Proponents of the override, Yes For Arlington, say the override is needed to maintain basic levels of service expected in Arlington—such as public safety, schools staffing and libraries.
Schools Superintendent Kathleen Bodie told the School Committee that 40 classroom teaching positions would likely have to be cut if the override vote fails, as areas outside the classroom, such as materials budgets, have already been stripped to the bone in recent years.
But those opposed, organized into the group No Override Arlington, question the necessity to increase Arlington's property tax bill in a time when Arlington Public Schools are dealing with a lack of trust coming from a $1.5 million deficit.
They say senior citizens on fixed incomes would be affected significantly by tax increases, on top of Social Security payments remaining at the same levels.
In April, a survey found 51.5 percent of those questioned in Arlington would support a three-year override, while 41.3 percent said they would support a five-year override. About 61.8 percent said they would support either a three-year or a five-year override.
Within the proposed override, the town makes a three-year commitment:
- No operating override will be requested for at least three years.
- Town and school operating budget increased will be capped at 3.5 percent per year. An additional allowance of up to 7 percent shall be allowed for documented special education cost increases. Should actual special education cost increases exceed this amount, the remaining school budget shall be decreased by the difference.
- Health care cost increases will be programmed at 7 percent. Should actual increases exceed this amount, the town and school budget totals should be proportionately decreased by the excess amount. Should actual increases be less than this amount as a result of negotiated health care savings, the town and school budget totals may be proportionately increased by the difference.
- An additional $600,000 shall be appropriated for core school services for the school department. Also, $400,000 shall be appropriated in the public works budget for town-wide road improvements – said amount shall be in addition to the amount currently appropriated in the capital budget for road improvements.
- Reserves will be maintained at 5 percent of operating revenues over the course of the three-year commitment period.
—Patch reporter John Waller contributed to this report.