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.