Oppose Northbridge override May 20

On Tuesday, May 20, Northbridge voters will be asked at the annual election if they want to increase their property taxes by more than 17 percent via a permanent, operational Proposition 2½ override. 

This equates to a $700 tax increase on a $300,000 home. Of course, you’ll pay more if your home’s value is higher than $300,000. 

This is a forever, year after year, tax increase. 

Rhetoric from Town Hall has some people thinking this tax increase will go away in five years. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply look at the town election ballot. It clearly states that residents will be voting for a permanent $3.265 million tax increase. And let’s remember the standard increases we’ve all come to expect — those will also continue. 

Even more to the point, the solution is not raising taxes but controlling spending. The critics of controlled spending tend to see government’s role as ever-expansive. The argument that controlled spending will harm local government treats government spending as sacred while the family budget is seen as less important. 

It requires financial competence and political fortitude to reduce the growth of spending. 

Let’s take a stand for the family budget and against a 17 percent tax increase. You can protect your wallet by voting no at the town election on Tuesday, May 20. 

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11 Responses to Oppose Northbridge override May 20

  1. l. hanny says:

      Desperately Needed Cost Cuts in the Northbridge Public School System

    Voters should not entertain increasing the tax burden on the tax payer without a plan that takes into consideration these (2) measures:

    1. An alternate energy plan for the entire Northbridge School system. Former Superintendent O’Donnell had a preliminary plan drawn up at no cost to the town,which he presented to the school committee,no action was taken.

    BVRT took advantage of such a plan- installing five solar arrays on the front roof and a number of smaller arrays on the rear- saving $160K per year . In addition ,an integrated solar array to heat the hot water systems at a significant savings, and most recently collecting rain water at the school to water the athletic fields, with a 41% energy savings.

    Holy Name saves an estimated $250K a year on the schools electric bill with their Wind Turbine, and makes the school an additional $30,000. in a state energy rebate to the school.

    2. Overburdened with administrative overhead with large salaries, benefit and retirement packages that never go away. NPS has an Assistant Superintendent of school, a Dean of Students, 4 principals, 5 Assistant Principals- are these people all essential. They do not improve the quality of education they detract from it. The town also pays for retired teachers on pension to come back and teach at the school-there by doubling dipping. It would be far better to take on part-time or temporary staff and train new talent rather then continue with this patronage system. As the MAy 9th Tribune Article says why aren’t school administrator and teachers taking a pay cut to pay for school increases they benefit the most financially. The average Northbridge resident makes less that the mid-point average school teacher.

    So when the school department says they are falling behind they have no grounds to stand on. Northbridge was just recognized by the State Board of Education in the 2013 AP (Advanced Placement) District Honor Roll. I urge you to Vote a BIG No at the May 20th election.

  2. Jason McKinley says:

      For Quality Education – Vote NO Override on May 20

    Numerous studies conclude that real spending per capita on education has more than doubled since the 1970s, yet test scores have remained flat.

    In other aspects of the economy, we expect better services and products every year. We also tend to expect the improved product will be at a lower price, or at least the same price. For example: faster internet connection and smaller and cheaper cell phones. But when it comes to educational outcomes we tend to accept that we are paying more for the same level of service we did in the 1970s.

    As a parent I’ve seen first hand how deeply teachers care about their students. Yet the experience is a plodding, top-heavy School Department that doesn’t give teachers the support they need.

    Voters should reject the latest proposed $3.2 million override question on May 20 that will pump another $3 million each year into an unreformed system. Adding more money would do little to help kids. It would only signal that school officials can avoid meaningful change.

    Rather than consider the need for basic change, override supporters assume spending more automatically helps children. This view mirrors the reflexive, blank-check mentality that is common in the education establishment.

    More money won’t help test scores and outcomes at Northbridge public schools.

    The override certainly would protect the positions of grown-ups in the system, but schools should be about educating children, not providing jobs and guaranteed pay raises for adults.

    We need an honest conversation about how we educate children in Northbridge. Our schools need proven reforms. For example: the union should let teachers be rewarded and retained based on performance, not seniority, and parents should have more say in who educates their children.

    We can’t consider fresh ideas like these if the override passes because, once they secure more money, leaders and the union will have no reason to listen.

    A NO vote, however, may prompt creative thinking about how expenditures and results, and that would lead to real reform and improved learning for all children.

    For the sake of quality education, please Vote NO on May 20.

    • Quality says:

      Jason, who do you think is going to be let go. The teachers with seniority? No. The plan that you stated above has nothing to do with the plans for the money. The government is asking for more of the schools in the way of testing and therefore the schools have to PAY more. There are also costs for students with severe special needs. The override is not to pay for ONLY teacher salaries. It is to ensure that there are enough teachers to TEACH the students. There are not enough teachers to teach the students in the schools now given the need. You are not a part of this school system, you do not observe in the schools, you do not feel the hurt that the override not passing has caused to the students. You seem to be overly obsessed with telling teachers and the union how to do their jobs. I suggest that you spend years going to school and working in this field for very little money. I suggest that you feel the strain, and yet never give up on the children that need you. I also suggest that you rethink voting no again in 2015. Your ideas on this spending are very distorted. I do not mean to attack you, but coming from the other side of things your view is very shocking. If only you knew……….if only you knew. You are right, quality of education does not depend on the dollar, but the dollar does pay the employees who make this school run.

  3. Jack Wallace says:

    Interesting fact: When people say that Northbridge has the lowest tax rates compared to Uxbridge, Grafton, Upton, Douglas, let them know that the median income in Northbridge is lower than all of these communities.

    Doesn’t it make sense, from a percentage standpoint, that lower-income households would contribute less in taxes?

    Median Household Income in 2011:
    Northbridge – $68,981
    Douglas – $81,000
    Uxbridge – $86,912
    Grafton – $89,950
    Upton – $110,083

  4. Some Thoughts On The May 20th Override:

    We can buy a years time without costing the Taxpayers any additional taxes in my opinion, and during that years time either the BOS or the Town Moderator can form a special Select Budget Committee, authorized by the Town Charter. For this Budget Committee we will need a Facilitator with ‘True Grit’, this new Select Budget Committee will examine the Town’s and the School Budget for any Budgetary reforms, and saving’s, recommendations, reforming Town Government for the Town and Taxpayers in the future. ‘Strange’ usually the Town has surveys on the Towns website like we change sock’s ! But please note no survey’s on the Towns present Budget snafu on how the Town can save money and Taxpayer suggestions?

    I suggest buying a Town year by this option the Town presently has almost $2 Million Dollars in it’s main Stabilization Account, take $325,000 dollars out of this account. The Town has almost $700,000 in its Health Insurance Stabilization account take $225,000 dollars out of this account, the Town recently sold three Tax lien properties for a net financial gain of approx $250,000 dollars to the Town. For FY 2015 the State will be giving the Town an additional increase of $62,000 dollars in Chap 70, and $55,000 in Unrestricted local aid funding., add that. Put advertisement fliers in all our Town Mailings, bringing in a conservative amount of $35,000 plus dollars to the Town. Total $952,000, give this to the Schools to get them through FY 2015 School Year, they keep saying they need at least a Million Dollars to get them through 2015? While the Select Budget Group formulates an Agenda 2016 Forward Budgetary Plan for the Town of Northbridge, during this year we bought the Taxpayers until a Master Plan is formulated by this select Committee to meet the future Budgetary needs of the Town.

    Relative to the Fire Department, the Town Manager to the best of my knowledge has not ask the BOS for an official declaration of a Public Safety Emergency for Northbridge, relative to the suggestive staffing needs of the Fire Department. I am also unaware of the Town Manager notifying the State Fire Marshal Office relative to our suggestive staffing shortage, or the State’s Secretary of Public Safety Office reference our staffing situation. The State may be able to reallocate some additional State resources to the Town, if the staffing needs of the Fire Department is a valid Public Safety Emergency for the Town Northbridge. If you recall the first BOS meeting their were two BOS that wanted to wait on the Fire Department staffing level request until after the new Dispatch Consolidation dust had settled? In reality was the Fire department Override added to the School Override, because they knew the School Override alone may sink like a lead Balloon?

    Plus if the BOS declare a Public Safety Emergency on the Fire Department staffing levels, do they not have Emergency Powers under their State Power’s and Duties to adjust the Towns Budget without Town meeting approval? Plus to pay for the additional staffing for one year? For example take .05% out of each Town line item excluding the Schools and Fire Department to pay for the additional staffing for one year?

    The Town of Framingham is joining the Commonwealth’s Group Insurance Commission for their Town Employee’s Health Insurance. A friend of mine that works for Framingham told me the Town plans to save between $3-$4 Million Dollars a year on Health Insurance costs for it’s Town Employee’s. I asked how did the Unions in Framingham agree to this? My Town officials keep saying the Unions have to agree to this? His reply was if a Town Manager, Town Administrator, City Council, Mayor, can show a 5% savings for the Town or City the Unions have to agree to it? From my understanding the Town of Grafton is going to the GIC, and plans on saving between $1-$1.5 Million a year. Plus the Municipal Employee’s pay only 20% towards their Health Insurance joining the GIC, in Northbridge I think they pay 25%. Plus they offer an excellent Retiree Dental & Vision Plan for Municipal Retiree’s.

    Just some thoughts on reforming our Town Government, and ‘Thinking Outside the Box” instead of just sitting back and twiddling our thumbs and saying the Tax Payers can just pay more! Plus if the Town does not have the $2.00 to call the Commonwealth’s Group Insurance Commission for the GIC to evaluate the Town and how much it would save for Northbridge. I will gladly give the TManager the $2.00 dollars.

    In closing the reason we need a special Budget Select Committee, because our Financial Emergency Brake the Finance Committee has failed the Town in my opinion.

  5. Little Joe says:

    I agree that our finance committee has failed us. Why was the override question brought to us by the fincom? I heard the chairman say at a Selectmen’s meeting that it was a big snafu and somehow fincom didn’t even know they were sponsoring the article, but they did it anyway. What? That doesn’t make sense. It’s not leadership. Time for some to step aside in my opinion.

  6. Nbridge Budget Snafu & FINCOM Puzzle Palace:

    Lets examine what we have been told so far about our Budget Snafu, and why voting NO on the Override is the only logical conclusion. Plus after reading all the posts here hopefully it will not only enlighten readers but also put this whole matter in a better prospective, for those that may be undecided on this Town Override Issue.

    We have heard at a recent BOS Meting in February 2014, that the FINCOM Chair was suggestively warned about this Budget nightmare six-seven years ago by an out going School Superintendent, suggestively by his own oration that night. Plus the Schools suggestively admitted at this same BOS Meeting they knew this day would come as they were spending down their Revolver Accounts over the past years. Plus if you review the Nbridge School Committee Meeting Minutes of March 9, 2010, our present FINCOM Chair who was Vice Chair at this time, mentioned the 2012 School Budget and his concern of a possible Override in 2012! His Public Comment was he would like the Town Departments to work together, but does not specify what action he would take if they did not work together? With this information one must ask what did our FINCOM Chair do with his perceived Budget concerns for the Town? Did he formally or informally notify the Town Moderator who appoints the FINCOM Board? Plus the Town Manager who is the Chief Fiscal Officer for the Town? Plus the Board of Selectmen? Plus the School Superintendents Office? Did he submit a comprehensive report to them, on a plan of action he would take if these Town Official’s may not take his Budgetary concerns, warnings, seriously? These questions may only be answered by the FINCOM Chair, but if you look at the fact the Schools now may need a $3-$4 Million Dollar Taxpayer Override. Plus our DPW has been financially decimated over the last six-seven years, this could explain our El-Salvador type Roads, Sidewalks. Not to mention the #184 Street Lights that have been shut off, no funding to build small local WRTA Bus wait stations for Seniors and Young Children to wait in, no funding for the Dug Outs at the Linwood Athletic Fields a private Bank had to pay for them, no funding for Town Christmas lights. When you add all these items all up it may speak volumes on what our FINCOM Chair may have did or did not do? Are they not our Town’s Finacial Emergency Brake, and did not someone not pull it?

    Now your hair is going to hurt over this one, let me explain the following and you be the judge if your hair may need some Tylenol afterwards? In 2012 the Town was looking at building a new DPW on Fletcher Street, for those that remember. When the first summary base line figures came in at $7 Million Dollars if you review the media reports at the time the FINCOM Chair seemed to support this cursory $7 Million Dollar facility for the Town? Now if you remember at the Fall 2010 Town Meeting their was no doubt in his mind that it could be built for $4-$5 Million Dollars at the Fletcher Street location, was his comment.
    This is the same individual at a March 9, 2010 School Committee Meeting (Review Public Comments) that had suggestive concerns that the Schools were going to need an Override in 2012, ‘go figure’? After the ‘Egg Person’ came to the Town Hall the $7 Million Dollar plus DPW facility, along with it $78,000 dollar study were put to rest in the cellar of the Town Hall with all the other costly Town study’s collecting cobwebs.

    Plus at this same time in 2012 a ‘stellar’ group of ‘Private Citizen’s’ some that were on the Town’s Building Committee in the past, plus between them all had 375 years of experience in the Building Trade’s and State Government. Presented a $1.8 Million Dollar., 15,000-16,000 sq. Foot Modular Steel, DPW Template Facility Building to the Town and the Town FINCOM. It could have been built at it’s present DPW location, or at the Providence Road Waste Water Treatment site. At the Waste Water Treatment Plant it would have been closer to the $1.8 Million price tag because the site work would have been cheaper, and Town Sewer is already on that location. Plus this stellar group already had Email confirmation from the Attorney General Office that the Town could use 44E to keep the cost’s down for the Town, by which not needing an Architect designer. 44E allows in simple not complicated construction a P.E., Professional Engineer which is our DPW Superintendent, or P.E.’s on our Town BPCC to be the Project Manager for the Construction saving the Taxpayers significantly on the new construction. Plus this group also had return Bids from Company’s that would do the work in 2010, when a similar proposal was put before the Town. Plus one member of this group built the building the Town Sewer Vacuum truck is now housed, at the Waste Water T. Plant, saving the Town $210,000 dollars using 44E a few years ago.

    When this group went before the FINCOM in the Summer of 2012, with the Town Moderator in attendance at this meeting at Town Hall. The FINCOM Chair discounted what this Private Citizens group had presented, plus discounting the Town could use 44E? Even tho the Town had already used 44E for the Sewer Division’s Vacuum Truck Garage, and Emails from the Attorney General Office okaying it. He even discounted the official returned 2010 Bids for the 2010 DPW steel modular facility that would have been built on the same site, with a drive thru wash bay, and salt shed, and RR Crossing fix? In 2010 that cost with all those amenities was $2.1 Million dollars. He even discounted the private citizens that had 375 years of building experience that were sitting in front of him. So in a nutshell the $1.8 Million DPW plan may have not been palatable to a certain faction in Town, in my opinion.

    Now this is the part your hair is going to hurt in October of 2012, the FINCOM approved a $4.5 Million Dollar DPW facility on Douglas Road. They approved it on a lot less information then the Private Citizens group submitted on their $1.8 Million Dollar DPW facility proposal. Can you imagine that?, plus then a $5000.00 dollar Special Town Meeting in the Winter of 2012 which it was defeated? Plus there is a suggestive connection in 2010 the FINCOM Chair had budgetary concerns about the Schools, at that School Committee Public Hearing on 03/09/2010?

    In conclusion the Board Of Selectmen at anytime can request a Town Charter review in accordance with the Town Charter. Northbridge is no longer a Town with a population under 10,000 people in it, it is time for our FINCOM to be an ‘Elected Board’! If the majority of our Town Boards now are elected why not our FINCOM? In my opinion and the opinion of many if it is correct the FINCOM Chair knew six years ago about this Budget Storm and he may have failed to act, is it not unacceptable as a Town Official? If he did notify the other Town Officials and they failed to act is that not unacceptable? If the Override should pass, who will answer for those ‘Seniors’ on fixed income’s, the ‘Shut Ins’, that will have to sacrifice so much financially, if someone may not have sounded the alarm six year a go. Yes ‘Who Will Answer’?

  7. Ben Cartwrightson says:

    FINCOM CHANGE:

    In reviewing a large amount of Municipal Information over the last week in this Nation. The National trend’s on FINCOM’s in Municipalities are going for half the FINCOM Boards being elected and the other half of the FINCOM being appointed.

    Their appears to be more of a trend of having the FINCOM Chair person an elected position in Municipalities.

  8. Ben Cartwrightson says:

    MAY NBRIDGE FINCOM BE A RUDDERLESS SHIP?

    ‘This and That’

    Some may understand this explanation of our Northbridge FINCOM, when it come’s to the Town’s Financial stability and it’s solvency. The Nbridge FINCOM is suppose to be the adult in the room when it comes to the Town’s Financial wallet or pocket book. It would be similar as your early teen child tells you they plan to go to the Movies on Saturday night, and they ask you for some money to go to the movies. All you have is two twenty’s in your wallet or pocket book, so you give your early teen child $40.00 dollars and tell them to bring home the change. When your daughter/son get back from the Movies and you ask your early teen child for any change back, and they only give you a dollar back in change. They tell you the price of popcorn went up, or Billy Bob, or Betty Smith, did not have any money for snacks or soda’s, or they lost the change.

    So when your early teen child advises you they are going to the Movie’s and two weeks, do you do the following?
    1. Give him/her $50.00 dollars?
    2. Call the Movie Theater and find the ball park price of everything, and give your son/daughter money on the information you attained from the Movie Theater?
    3. Buy the Movie Tickets on line?

    I will give the Business Manager of the School’s some suggestive lead-way if, the Business Manager receives no help from anyone else in the School District. Overseeing a $24-$25 Million Dollar School Budget, Grants, etc, etc, and all it’s financial tangents may be suggestively overwhelming for one person.

    But is not our FINCOM suppose to be the Adult in this present Budget Snafu, similar to the fore mentioned Movie scenario. If the FINCOM Chair knew about this six year’s ago, plus he had suggestive concerns when he was Vice Chair at the March 9, 2010 School Committee Meeting about the School Budget in 2012? Then one must ask Was The Lights On and No One May Have Been Home for the last six years? Is not the FINCOM this Town’s Financial Emergency Brake? Does not the FINCOM have a six or seven Member Board that could have helped the School’s Business Manager?

    If this Prop 2:1/2 Override Pass’s I wonder if the FINCOM Chair may be helping out in the local Food Pantry’s, and the local Church’s free Dinner and Breakfast program’s? For those Seniors on fixed incomes and Shut in’s that just have their noses above financial water now?

    Has the Nbridge FINCOM let the most vulnerable of our society down in our Town? You be the Judge?

  9. Ben Cartwrightson says:

    FYI:

    RE: Northbridge School Committee Public Hearing

    DATE: March 9, 2010

    TIME: 6:30 P.M.

    LOCATION: Northbridge High School Auditorium

    Public Comment:
    also mentioned the 2012 budget and a possible override. He
    would like the departments to work together.

    LINK:
    http://oldwww.nps.org/admin/doc/min/3_9_10ph.pdf

  10. just a thought says:

    Supporters for the Override found out that the people did not want it- and they have all kind of harsh thing to say. But beyond what has already been said- the school is a major participator in the Northbridge football old boy system. Seems like Mike Gauthier (HS Principal) likes to be surrounded with old NHS football players putting them into Dean of Students position, and John Damagian into an in house Suspension supervisor position(no educational background at all). This is a long standing problem. Driving up the administrative costs of running a school. The chiefs son took over after the Police Chief Melia, now I hear the Fire Chiefs son is taking over after him (Gary Nestor). This kind of thing should not go on it is undermines people confidence in the way the school and other town offices are run. For a while Mike Gauthier (then Principal)of the middle school was supervising his brother the middle school science teacher. You tell me -is this right. No is the answer . And until this waste and patronage in these town and school offices stop people will never feel good about the way things seems to slip by here in Northbridge. Lets vote to clean up the patronage system its 2014 and continue to defeat school overrides.

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