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SOUND OFF: Do You Support Mayor Warren's Tax Override Proposal?

The $11.4M package would include three separate ballot questions, including one tax levy override and two debt exclusion overrides.

Last night, Newton Mayor Setti Warren unveiled a $11.4 million tax override proposal that would help cover costs for new school buildings, roads, police staff, public safety equipment and a renovated fire station.

The proposal asks the Board of Aldermen to approve a March 12, 2013 special election for residents to consider three separate tax override questions. 

The first question asks for an $8.4 million operational override that would cover a number of different capital needs including funding for projects in the schools, public works, police and fire departments.

The second question would ask for approval of a debt exclusion override to cover the cost of rebuilding the 90-year-old Angier Elementary. The third question would ask for a similar debt exclusion override to cover the cost of renovating or rebuilding the 80-year-old Cabot Elementary.

If all three overrides pass, the average Newton tax bill will increase by approximately 50 cents for every $1,000 valuation of a home, according to Chief Financial Officer Maureen Lemieux. This amounts to an average of $343 per year, based on Newton's median home price of $686,000.

Following last night's announcement, the city launched an override calculator that helps residents find out how much their taxes will increase if the proposed override passes.

The last time the city attempted to pass an override was under Mayor David Cohen, who proposed a $12 million operational override in 2008. The city voted the proposal down.

Dan Fahey, a Newton resident who led the opposition against the city's last attempt at an override, told Newton Patch Monday night that he believes the current administration has managed the city's financials well and that the override proposal is a "logical, well-thought out plan." 

TELL US: What do you think of the override? Are you in favor of the proposal? Would you vote for all three override questions -- or just one? Sound off in the comments section below. 

Mr N October 16, 2012 at 03:31 PM
It's hard to oppose this plan on it's merits. It is an attempt to solve many problems with minimal funding. I'm sure that there will be some opponents but most of those folks would oppose any increases no matter what.
L Licklider October 16, 2012 at 06:05 PM
The override solution overlooks large and growing numbers of parents who have abandoned NPS for private education. Many of us would prefer to have our kids in NPS (and avoid hurtful financial woes), if only our kids were taught there with similar effectiveness as we find in private schools. When will NPS realize its obligation to all town residents to compete with area private schools for growing numbers of families like ours? We should not find such disparity in classroom effectiveness between NPS and local private schools, as many of us have witnessed firsthand, and which several new buildings will not begin to even out! Our boys attended first grade in Angier elementary last year where we learned to our great disappointment that we will be shouldering costs of private schooling from second grade on. No more short walks to Angier, either! It was not the careless condition of the building or any student/teacher ratio that forced our exit from Angier. We left because of ineffective classroom instruction that is overseen by unimaginative, irresponsible administrators, very similar explanations are offered by other parents for their exiting from NPS. If only NPS were determined to offer comparable classroom instruction as we have found at Jackson Walnut Park School (and at Newton Montessori School for pre-K, and K), then we should be willing to invest a sizable portion of (our budget-busting) $11500 per child tuition to JWP -instead in our public schools. L Licklider
Mr N October 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Could you imagine the overcrowding at the public schools if all of those people you speak of wanted their children at NPS? We would be looking at an override ten times bigger!

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