With just a couple of weeks left until the special election, Mayor Setti Warren's $11.4 million override proposal is getting some support from the local business community.
The Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to support all three proposed override questions, according to a press release issued today by the Chamber.
Newton voters will head to the polls on March 12 to vote on the three override questions, which include an $8.4 million operating override as well as two debt exclusion overrides for the rebuilding of Angier and Cabot elementary schools.
“This was not an easy decision because we recognize that increased property taxes are a significant burden for many Newton businesses,” Joseph De Vito, chairman of the Newton-Needham Chamber Board of Directors, said in the press release. “But we looked at it. We analyzed it. And we decided this is the right thing to do for Newton.”
The Chamber's board solicited feedback from the local business community, analyzed the ballot questions and met with Warren before taking a vote on the override package on February 13, the press release said.
De Vito noted in the press release that the board was concerned about the possible negative impacts a defeated override could have on the local business community, as the condition of the infrastructure, schools and the city's bond rating play a role in Newton's profile as a desireable place to live, work and shop, the press release said.
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The full press release from the Chamber is included below and in the .pdf section above:
Chamber board supports Newton overrides
The Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to support all three of the Newton override proposals that will go before Newton voters on March 12.
The Chamber’s board voted to endorse the proposals at its Feb. 13 meeting, following a review of the three ballot questions, an analysis of the city’s financial position, a meeting with Newton Mayor Setti Warren and soliciting input from the business community.
“This was not an easy decision because we recognize that increased property taxes are a significant burden for many Newton businesses,” said Joseph De Vito, chairman of the Newton-Needham Chamber Board of Directors. “But we looked at it. We analyzed it. And we decided this is the right thing to do for Newton.”
De Vito said the board was especially concerned about the ramifications a defeat could have on the city’s bond ratings as well as the condition of municipal buildings, schools, streets and sidewalks; which in turn could negatively impact business activity. He said the board has been impressed by steps Warren’s administration had taken prior to seeking a tax increase to get the city’s finances in order, including renegotiating contracts with city and teachers' unions and implementing performance management and zero-based budgeting.
“As business people we recognize the value of investing in infrastructure and the ramifications of deferring maintenance,” De Vito said. “Newton is a desirable place to live, to work, to shop, to dine and to invest in. We want that to continue.”
During the Feb. 13 meeting, Mayor Warren made a commitment to the Chamber directors to strengthen his administration’s outreach to Newton’s businesses, regardless of the outcome on March 12. Warren said his administration’s economic planners have been busy reviewing regulatory matters and that making it easier to do business in Newton was a top priority.
“The Chamber is committed to working with the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to make sure we see meaningful regulatory reform and meaningful improvements to our streets, our sidewalks, our village centers and our business districts,” said Newton-Needham Chamber President Greg Reibman.
“We’re always eager to work with any member business that needs assistance working with our government partners, as well as will anyone who may have ideas for improving our overall business environment,” Reibman said.