Friday, June 21, 2002
Override needed to preserve town services The Mosquito asked selectman Carol Peters to explain the override.
In an action unprecedented in Carlisle, the Special Town Meeting on Monday, June 17, voted to increase the town's fiscal year 2003 budget by $75,000 more than the town currently has available to spend, leaving the budget out of balance (See report from Town Meeting, this page). Article 2 allocated an additional $125,000 to the high school, creating the $75,000 shortfall. This was done to avoid the need for a joint Town Meeting with Concord.
Anticipating this budget deficit, the town has called an election for next Wednesday, June 26, asking citizens to approve a $75,000 override of the Proposition 2-1/2 levy limit, which will permit the town to raise the additional amount through increased taxes.
Only one question appears on the ballot, requiring a single "yes" or "no" vote. The question states: "Shall the Town of Carlisle be allowed to assess an additional $75,000 in real estate and personal property taxes for the purpose of providing additional operating funds for the Concord-Carlisle Regional School district for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2002."
If override passes
If the override passes, the town's budget will be fully funded and the lengthy budgeting process will be over. An override of $75,000 will result in an increase in our tax rate of 8.4 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, or a $42 increase in the real estate tax on a property assessed at $500,000.
If override fails
If the override fails, the town will have to call another Special Town Meeting to reduce the budget to cover the $75,000 deficiency. The current understanding is that the high school budget will be funded first, out of available funds. Most likely, cuts will mean reductions of some services in Carlisle. Under consideration are reductions in:
• library hours and services;
• DPW staff, from 8 employees to 7, which will impact maintenance of town roads and property;
• police hours, resulting in less coverage;
• a postponement of a cell tower study which the planning board needs to properly address cell tower issues.
If Carlisle voters reject the override next Wednesday, the selectmen will propose a final list of cuts for town consideration. Final decisions would be made at the Special Town Meeting.
State law requires the town to have a balanced budget. Please vote on the override next Wednesday, June 26, and participate in this important decision.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito