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Voters soundly reject two overrides

June 23, 2011

MILLVILLE — Voters in the special election Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected two Proposition 2-1/2 override ballot questions.
By a vote of 415 to 126, voters defeated Question 1, which had asked residents to act on a $300,000 override to fund general government for fiscal 2012, which begins July 1.
By a vote of 382 to 157, voters also rejected Question 2, which asked residents to act on a $100,000 override for the Blackstone-Millville Regional School District.
Had the overrides passed, it would have meant annual property tax increases of between $247 and $675 depending on a home's assessment.
Residents actually approved two budgets at the Annual Town Meeting last month. The first budget was contingent upon the passage of the two override questions and totals $4,858,833.
The second budget totals $4,697,987 and will take effect on July 1 now that the override questions have been rejected.
The difference of approximately $160,850 between the two budgets includes, but is not limited to, additional funding of $100,000 for the Blackstone-Millville Regional School District; $20,000 for the Millville Senior Center; and $30,000 for the Millville Free Public Library.
Town officials were predicting in the weeks leading up to the election that failure to pass the overrides would have an impact on operations at the senior center and library.
Now that Question 1 has been defeated at the polls, town officicials say the senior center is only budgeted to remain open for six months, through Dec. 31. Also, the center will now be forced to close its doors effective Jan. 1, 2012, unless another source of funding becomes available prior to that time.
The Millville Library, officials added, will face significant reductions in hours and personnel and will only be open to the public for six hours each week beginning July 1. Additionally, the library could lose its state certification.
With the defeat of Question 2, the Blackstone-Millville Regional School District must now make budget cuts at their discretion, according to town officials.
As early as March, Finance Committee Chairman Paul Ouellette was sounding the alarm, warning selectmen that the town was facing a budget deficit of $160,000. At that time, the committee recommended that selectmen call for an override, saying without one, the town would suffer a "significant loss of services."
Prop. 2-1/2 limits the amount of revenue a city or town may raise from local property taxes each year to fund municipal operations. Communities must seek voter approval to raise additional funds beyond those limits.
Library Director Lisa Cheever said last month that if Question 1 did not pass, the library will reduce operating hours and services and may even close its doors.
If that happens, she says , it would set up a chain of events that would ultimately jeopardize the library's state certification and endanger its membership in the inter-loan program and eligibility for state and federal grants.
Without the override, Cheever said, the library's proposed $22,882 budget would take a brutal hit, leaving no money to provide adequate services.
If the library closes, it would lose its certification and town residents would not be able to borrow materials from other libraries in the system, among other things.
The Fiscal Year 2012 budgets, as approved at the Annual Town Meeting last month, can be viewed on the town's website at www.millvillema.org.

Comments

I am tapped out

June 24, 2011 by TappedOut (not verified), 2 years 42 weeks ago
Comment: 450

Not sure about you Amy but I, for one, am tapped out. Unfortunately our local brain trust (aka Selectmen) didn't take action soon enough to thwart this issue. Giving pay raises to Union employees during the toughest recession in a lifetime shows how fiscally tough they are. I am glad, as you say, that Blackstone stepped up. I also feel, for once, that the people of Millville stepped up (and stepped up big time!) I am sure we all considered the consequences of our vote but clearly the MAJORITY spoke and they said enough is enough. Blackstone should take its lead from Millville and do some serious trimming.

School cuts

June 23, 2011 by Amy (not verified), 2 years 42 weeks ago
Comment: 444

I can only hope that since Millville decided these cuts need to be made, that THEY are the ones to feel the effects of the loss of this funding. The people of Blackstone stepped up and fully funded the schools, these cuts should be made at the Millville Elementary School !!!

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