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Newton Taxpayers Have Already Paid to Improve Sidewalks, Roads

Our evaluation and analysis refuting the pro-override groups claim that Newton's streets and sidewalks are being short-changed

Moving Newton Forward with Fiscal Responsibility opposes override taxes for street and sidewalk spending. The reason is simple: Taxpayers have already paid for these projects, and we do not expect to pay two or three times to get what we paid for in the first place.

Yes, for years and years, Newton taxpayers have consistently paid high real estate taxes with the promise and expectation of very good streets and sidewalks. The problem is that over years Newton officials raided money intended for streets and sidewalks and used the money to fund other things. Now our officials falsely raise concern over street and sidewalk problems?

The city administration doesn’t need an override; there is plenty of money, and taxpayers already pay enough. The city administration needs to realign its internal allocation of funds to pay costs related to necessary street and sidewalk projects, and ensure that proper street and sidewalk funding continues by deflating the bloated overfunding in other spending areas.

An override is not the solution for street and sidewalk management; we need proper stewardship of our assets and effective management of current funding resources. We pay enough in taxes, and enough is enough.

Several years ago, city government was embarrassed by the conspicuously poor condition of many streets and sidewalks, and taxpayers were outraged by the administration’s failed stewardship. The administration felt the heat from taxpayers, recognized the need to catch-up, and stepped-up its funding allocations for street and sidewalk projects.

According to Newton’s audited financial reports, in fiscal year 2004, Newton incurred $8.9 million of gross expenses for streets and sidewalks. In FY12, Newton incurred $12.4 million of gross expenses for streets and sidewalks (excluding OPEB non-cash accruals).  During this eight year period, Newton’s annual streets and sidewalks expenses enjoyed a gross cumulative increase of 40 percent. We can safely conclude that Newton’s streets and sidewalks are no longer being short-changed, however Newton Public Works needs to handle its funds in a more efficient manner before asking for more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money for street and sidewalk expenses and the mayor, city administration, aldermen, and school committee must focus on deflating the bloated overfunding in other spending areas to assure proper and continuing funding of street and sidewalk projects.

We don’t need an override; we need management and stewardship. There is plenty of money, and taxpayers already pay enough.

Moving Newton Forward means fiscal responsibility; vote no on the overrides. Enough is enough.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Walter Jones February 21, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Just another amateurish, data-poor post by Moving Newton Forward. Simple example: They highlight that expenditures on streets and sidewalks grow 40% between fiscal year 2004 and fiscal year 2012. They refer to this as an "eight year period" whereas 9 years actually elapsed between the fiscal years 2004 and 2012. When simple basic facts like that are incorrectly accounted for by Moving Newton Forward, its hard to have any confidence in their analyses at all. They highlight a 40% gross cumulative increase in expenditures, where as no financial analysis would use that measure. Instead, one would use the 3.75% average annual increase, which over 9 years would lead to a 40% total increase. 3.75% sounds less, so they cherry-pick numbers that sound better for their argument. There is simply no credibility. Inaccurate. Dishonest. Moving Newton Forward.
Moving Newton Forward February 21, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Actually, you got this one wrong Wally. In FY 2004, Newton spent $8.9M Eight years later, Newton spent $12.4M. But thank you for getting your entire post wrong, because it cheered us up.
Walter Jones February 22, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Wow. The incompetence is stunning. Nine years elapsed between fiscal years 2004 and 2012, which are the two years referenced in your post. To spell out the obvious: FY04- year 1 FY05- year 2 FY06- year 3 FY07- year 4 FY08- year 5 FY09- year 6 FY10- year 7 FY11- year 8 FY12- year 9 YOU SAID IT WAS EIGHT YEARS. YOU WERE WRONG. Basic numbers. Basic math. Moving Newton Forward's analyses cannot be trusted.
Moving Newton Forward February 22, 2013 at 01:05 AM
We couldn't help but roll our eyes back after reading your posts Walter. Eight completed financial reporting years have passed since the end of FY 2004. FY 2013 will be the ninth completed financial reporting year since the end of FY 2004. Now if we were talking about comparing the beginning of FY 2004 to the end of FY 2012, then your nine year comparison is applicable. To spell out the obvious: June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2004_ 0 Years June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2005_ 1 Year June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2006_ 2 Years June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2007_ 3 Years June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2008_ 4 Years June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2009_ 5 Years June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2010_ 6 Years June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2011_ 7 Years June 30th, 2004 to June 30th, 2012_ 8 Years
Walter Jones February 22, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Wrong. Again. The fiscal year for 2004 goes from July 1 2003 to June 30 2004. That's a full year. The $8.9M in spend during FY04 was spent from July 1 2003 to June 30 2004. You are comparing spend of $8.9M which occurred starting on July 1 2003, with $12.4M in FY12 which ended on June 30, 2012. THAT'S NINE YEARS.
Walter Jones February 22, 2013 at 01:56 AM
Said differently, here were your exact words in the post: "... in fiscal year 2004, Newton incurred $8.9 million of gross expenses for streets and sidewalks. In FY12, Newton incurred $12.4 million of gross expenses for streets and sidewalks (excluding OPEB non-cash accruals). During this eight year period..." Fiscal year 2004= July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004 Fiscal year 2012= July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 So you could rewrite your post to say: " in [the period of July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004] Newton incurred $8.9 million of gross expenses for streets and sidewalks. In [the period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012], Newton incurred $12.4 million of gross expenses for streets and sidewalks (excluding OPEB non-cash accruals). During this eight year period, " And that would also be wrong. Its nine years from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2012. Your math or english was wrong. But you were undoubtedly wrong. Moving Newton Forward is not credible.
Moving Newton Forward February 22, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Walter, eight years elapsed after the conclusion of FY2004. Now you are just trolling and I will have to report you.
Moving Newton Forward February 22, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Walter, how can we miss you when you won't go away.
Walter Jones February 22, 2013 at 02:06 AM
"eight years elapsed after the conclusion of FY2004." I agree. But your post didn't say "after FY04" instead it said "in FY04." Your mistake. Your lack of credibility. Moving Newton Forward does not have credibility
Walter Jones February 22, 2013 at 02:07 AM
PS I won't be reading or visiting this thread again. You have been thoroughly discredited.
Moving Newton Forward February 22, 2013 at 02:09 AM
The best you can to discredit us is engage in convoluted word-smithing?

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