Belmont votes today for a $2 million override of Proposition 2 ½. I’m going to be voting yes and I encourage you to, also. (The Town’s Web Site has all the information you need on where and when to vote.) I’ve been deeply involved in the YES campaign, OneBelmont, and there’s much that I could say about why I think its critical to for Belmont to start to correct its structural budget deficit and pass this override. Even if this override passes, there will be deep cuts to services, as the Town struggles to find $1.5m in savings from an already lean budget.
The money in this override will preserve freshmen athletics at the high school, keep our elementary libraries open to students and allow us to at least stay on top of road and sidewalk maintenance, if not address the huge backlog of investment that will be needed to get them into shape. Visit the OneBelmont.org Web site for more information on how the override money will be used.
Beyond that, this override is really about Belmont being honest with itself — and in more ways than one. Its about the town facing up to the reality that the services that make this town a livable place cost money -and tend to cost more money over time. Its about facing up to the fact that we’ve been too willing to underfund those services over the years, and are now at a breaking point.
I say these things because, frankly, there’s been a lot of dishonesty and fact-mangling in the last few days – both in public and behind the scenes. As you may or may not know, anonymous individuals have been using robot calling to spread misinformation about the purposes of the override to town voters. Belmont’s new online paper, Patch, has excellent coverage of that – explaining the inaccuracies in the messages and doing the good work of getting officials to explain them and comment. The next big job is tracking down who is behind the messages, but I trust Patch will be on that task once the election is over.
I’ll have more to say on this after election day – but for now: get to the polls and VOTE YES to SAVE OUR SERVICES!!