Thursday, April 7, 2011

Arlington override vote likely to take place June 7

Posted April 5, 2011 11:14 AM

Arlington selectmen Monday approved a tentative date of June 7 to hold a special election on one or more property tax override proposals that increases taxes by several hundred dollars per year on the average Arlington home. 

But the board decided to wait another week before voting which override proposals will appear on the ballot.

Clarissa Rowe, the new chairwoman of the board, said two proposals suggested by the town’s Long Term Planning Committee could be too expensive for voters.
“I think the price was a bit too high,” Rowe said.
Around the region, Millis residents will vote May 2 on whether to hike taxes by $1.1 million, and Belmont is considering an override as well, Globe West reported Sunday.
The Committee had suggested two options for an override, including one that would raise about $7.9 million in revenue by increasing property taxes by 9.1 percent. The tax hike would be about $560 per year on the average Arlington home valued at $479,000.
The second option would add about $5.9 million to town coffers with a property tax increase that would tack on about $425 more per year to the tax bill on the average home. It would also generate another $2 million in savings and revenue by switching the town’s trash removal service to a pay-as-you-throw program, in which residents pay $1 or $2 for each bag of trash they throw out.
But Monday, Town Manager Brian Sullivan suggested the total tax increases under both override options could be reduced by subtracting funding for several programs, including $400,000 per year in road repair and an additional boost of $600,000 to the school department’s budget.

After the reductions, Sullivan said the first override option would raise about $6.2 million, which would hike taxes by about $425 a year on the average home.
The reduced second option, would raise about $4.3 million in revenue, which would hike taxes by about $300 per year on the average home. It would also include the pay-as-you-throw trash program, Sullivan said.

But Selectman Kevin Greeley said having two override options on the ballot could be too confusing for voters.
“I really think we want one question,” he said.
Dan Dunn, who was elected to the board Saturday, said he also thinks posing two override options could be too confusing and he requested another week to work on what would appear on the ballot for the special election.
The board will meet again next Monday.