Friday, April 2, 1999
Override amounts for May ballot
On March 30, the selectmen agreed on the amount of the override questions to be included on the ballot for the May 11 town election after the May 4 Annual Town Meeting. Selectman Vivian Chaput summarized the decision by saying, "We have created a priority system of overrides. Those areas most in need are covered in level one; enhancements are in level two; new programs are in level three."
Tier one will request the amount of $190,340. This tier covers mainly deficits in the operating budgets of town departments in order to provide level services, and includes $53,987 for the Carlisle Public Schools. The tax impact for this level of override, based on a house having an assessed value of $400,000, would be an estimated increase of $113 per year, according to selectmen's calculations.
Tier two will request an additional $149,022, for a cumulative override amount of $339,362. This tier includes every item in level one plus another $66,522 for the Carlisle Public Schools to cover additional system needs, and funding for certain Warrant articles. The Warrant articles funded are $22,500 for school facility repair and upgrade, $5,000 toward a new computer system for the town, $30,000 for a water supply study to be done on O'Rourke Farm, $15,000 for a comparative wage study for town employees and $10,000 for air conditioning at the police station. The tax impact for this level of override, again based on a house having an assessed value of $400,000, would be an estimated increase of $206 per year, according to selectmen's calculations.
Tier three will add $109,500, for a cumulative override of $448,862. In addition to all items in tiers one and two, this tier will provide funding for the toddler playground ($10,000), a new compactor at the transfer station ($18,000), a police speed monitor ($3,000), and $53,500 for the Carlisle Public Schools to cover unmet needs and programs currently paid for by user fees. Selectmen estimate that tier three will add $274 annually to the tax bill for a home assessed at $400,000.
All selectmen voted to include tiers one and two on the ballot; Chaput and selectman Doug Stevenson did not believe that tier three was fiscally responsible but the majority prevailed. Selectmen have postponed making a recommendation on whether the town should adopt any level of override until they get a sense of the overall financial impact of the Warrant.
In addition to the budget override questions, there are two debt exclusion articles on the Warrant. One would fund a new pumper truck for the fire department in the amount of $304,000. The other would pay for new rooftop indoor air quality units for the school in the amount of $153,700. The town will also be asked to purchase the Wang-Coombs property for $2.2 million (less a possible $350,00 in grant money from the agricultural preservation restriction program). The library project, if approved, adds approximately another $1.5 million to the equation.
Chaput stressed that in considering the overrides, the prospect of less rosy economic times should not be forgotten. Chaput stated, "These are major expenses that become part of the baseline for future years."
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito