As reported in the Belmont Citizen Herald, voters in Belmont sent a warning shot on Monday, voting down an effort to pass a Prop 2 1/2 override to fund road maintenance and reconstruction in the town. According to data posted on the Belmont Town Web site today by Town Clerk Delores Keefe, the vote was a close one with 2602 voters saying “No” and 2269 saying “Yes” – a difference of just 333 votes. (Has anyone considered that 333 is half of 666 — the NUMBER OF THE BEAST??!?!?!) OK. OK. Just kidding.
The breakdown, by precinct, went like this:
TOTALS: YES 2269 NO 2602
Despite a poll by B2 that showed strong support for the override, sentiment seems to have been strongly against it across the town. Only two Precincts: 1 & 6 voted in favor, with some lopsided votes against in Precinct’s 4 and 8 (my lawn sign, notwithstanding).
The vote sends a sobering message to those of us in town who will shortly be pushing for a debt exclusion to fund the construction of a new Wellington Elementary, as well as for town leaders who are desperately hoping to pass an operational override come budget time, given that the town has already raided all available sources of free cash in the last three or four budget cycles.
There are two ways of looking at what that message is, exactly: the optimistic view is that voters were factoring in their support of the Wellington project and the budget override and concluding that we can’t do it all at once. The pessimistic view is that voters in town feel put upon and are unwilling to accept funding any increase on the revenue side, even with a glaring problem that’s staring them in the face (and jolting their spine) every day. Whichever is true, the folks who want to see a new Wellington School built will have to be more organized and fervent in turning out their supporters than the roads folks were. In the end, I think those backing the roads override did a good job getting the issue in front of the eyes of voters. The question is: how good were they at turning people out on election day. Judging from the turnout — around 5,000 voters –there’s still a lot of work to be done in getting the vote out for future overrides.