As the Belmont Citizen Herald is reporting, an influx of Federal stimulus dollars targeted at education will allow the town to put off asking voters to approve a Proposition 2 1/2 override to fix its budget deficit. An estimated $1.3m in stimulus money will help stave off cuts to staffing and materials on the school side and, coupled with some savings from attrition, let the town squeak by for one more year without needing to raise property taxes. Of course, because this is a structural deficit, Belmont is likely to face a similar or even larger deficit next year, barring a miraculous recovery in the second half of 2009, as tax revenues continue to decline.
Still, the decision for hold off on the override vote saves town voters from a ballot in June asking for approval of property tax increases for the budget as well as construction of the new Wellington Elementary — a scenario that few in town thought boded well for either effort.
Details should be emerging in the weeks ahead on exactly where cuts will come from on both the School and Town side of the ledger, but as a strong supporter of the effort to build a new Wellington, a June vote focused on that issue and no other is very appealing. I’m sure I’m not alone in the desire to step back and say “Thanks, Barack!” 😉