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Shrewsbury Selectmen to Ask for $5.5M Override

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Shrewsbury Town Hall. Credit: Patch
Shrewsbury Town Hall. Credit: Patch
The Board of Selectmen in Shrewsbury issued the following statement about its vote to put a $5.5 million Proposition 2 1/2 override on the ballot for June: 

"The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted at its April 15, 2014, meeting to call for a Special Town Election on Tuesday June 3, 2014 from 7 AM to 8 PM for the sole purpose of asking the voters to consider a $5.5 Million Proposition Two and One-Half Operational Override question.

The Board also unanimously voted at the same meeting to convene a Special Town Meeting on Wednesday May 21 at 7 PM at which time it will propose to the legislative body that it approve a $5.5 Million contingent appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2015 Town Budget. The proposed contingent appropriation will designate that educational spending be increased by $4.2 Million and that various municipal departments and the capital budget are increased by $1.3 Million.

The Board chose to bring the question to the voters of Shrewsbury because it believes that the Town is right now at its most critical tipping point in over thirty years. The Board believes that now is the time at which the voters must determine if they wish to continue the levels of educational and municipal services with which all residents have come to expect and greatly value, or if they believe that such services are now simply too expensive to support, and accordingly that the Town should transform itself into a very different community with a much lower level of educational and municipal services.

Specifically the Board believes that in the area of public education the recent drastic increases in class sizes in our schools and the inability to provide the necessary materials and personnel to properly provide our students a twenty-first century curriculum are the principal reasons it has brought the override question to the voters.

 

In the area of municipal services the Board has actively supported the Town Manager's aggressive and creative initiatives to reduce cost structures wherever possible through privatization, regional efforts and reductions in staffing. The municipal operation employs fewer staff today than it did in Fiscal Year 1998, while at the same time the Town's population has grown 47.5% from 24,146 (1990) to 35,608 (2010) As a result the Board believes it is necessary at this time for certain targeted restorations in the Police, Public Buildings and Highway Departments. Similarly the Board believes the Town must address the chronic underfunding of the capital spending plan. Many critical capital elements have been deferred year after year in order to support the educational and municipal operations.

The Town has consistently assessed average residential tax bills in the low range when compared both regionally and to all Massachusetts towns of similar size and complexity. The Board fully understands the question's approval will have impact on taxpayers, but even with approval the Town's average residential tax bill will remain in that low range.

The Board of Selectmen believes that without approval of the override question the Fiscal 2015 Town Budget simply will not and cannot meet the needs of our community.

The entire April 15, 2014 meeting in which the Board discussed the override question may be viewed on demand at vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T01028&video=192947

For more information, please contact the Board of Selectmen atselectmen@shrewsburyma.gov or 508-841-8504"
Ann Cairns May 13, 2014 at 01:54 PM
The library renovation was so dire a need because its maintenance was not kept up; it was deferred as have many other needs in Town. This influx of cash will enable the Town to restore the schools to an appropriate standard, as well as take care of other must-do's that have been postponed.
Gary Alperson May 13, 2014 at 08:39 PM
Shrewsbury's police department is extremely understaffed compared to regional benchmarks. We are in the bottom in MA in student-teacher ratio, spending on curriculum, materials, textbooks, supplies, and technology, and per-pupil expenditures. We have one of the lowest average tax bills in the region, and based on our level of wealth we are one of the lowest contributing towns to our schools in the state. Even with an override and the capital exemption for the library, we would remain an inexpensive place to live.
ron king May 14, 2014 at 03:03 AM
Yup....$600 to $800 per year by 2018 = $50 to $95 per month more taxes...just for the average house valuations of $340K or so.....every year... here after...plus the always climbing $80....$120 each year...just to keep pace with the 2 1/2% each year allowable now. Oh, yes..almost for got the retirement "Benefits" for the extra 60-70 teachers/staff, going into the future. (A new, and effective education system delivery system is needed) Why can't we figure that out, and become a for-bearer of innovation?
sarah l. May 27, 2014 at 07:35 AM
Should of voted on this first before ridiculous library project, this makes more sense,but cant do both taxes will be to high!

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