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The Long Range Planning Committee’s consensus is that an override during fiscal 2024 would be best, likely sometime in October, Town Manager Sandy Pooler stated at the Select Board meeting on April 10.

“That would still affect the FY24 tax base, so putting it off over the summer doesn’t change anything in terms of the ability to raise money,” he said.

In March, Pooler had predicted that a public vote seeking an override might be sought in June.

More time for campaigns

Postponing the election that could raise taxes to pay for the town's structural deficit would allow more time for both sides -- pro and con -- to put together their campaigns.

“Trying to do so between now and June seems too short a period of time,” Pooler said. “The School Committee is working on its strategic plan and wants to articulate more clearly the elements of that plan. The Finance Committee and voters in town understand what the School Committee is trying to achieve with this override,” said Pooler.

He added: “We will continue to have Long Range Planning Committee meetings this spring. The board will vote some time in June to set a date for a vote [by the general public] by the public in October.”  

Board Chair Eric Helmuth said that this is important work that will continue, and “I look forward to the final decision.” 

The Long Range Planning Committee reviewed the Town of Arlington’s five-year financial projections on Fridays in March -- and the town manager told YourArlington at that time that an override would be necessary this year to achieve the appropriate budget for the town’s financial goals.

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Overrides in Massachusetts came into being after the state Legislature in 1981 adopted Proposition 2 1/2, a law aimed at limiting tax increases. A public override vote, on a date set by a given municipality's Select Board, allows local government to ask taxpayers for funds beyond this threshold. A successful tax override raises taxes of town property owners 

Arlington's last override, for $5.5 million, was in 2019. Residents also voted that year to fund the rebuilding of Arlington High School.

Previous requests to raise taxes were in 2016 – a debt exclusion, to pay for renovating Thompson and Gibbs elementary schools, and for an AHS rebuild feasibility study and Minuteman support. 

In June 2011, voters approved a $6.5 million tax override to support town and school operations by 860 votes

Currently, the town's five-year financial projection includes the $2.8 million increase in Chapter 70 aid allocated to the Town of Arlington from Gov. Maura Healey’s proposed $55.5 billion state budget, as well as the funds collected from fees, fines, permits, interest, property taxes and motor vehicle excise taxes.

Watch the April 10 meeting on ACMi:


March 24, 2023: Override call expected after town election 


This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert was published Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

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