Voters in Walpole and Scituate will decide whether to increase their property taxes this Saturday.
Activists in both towns are turning to the internet to get their messages out. Check out some Scituate voices here.
In Walpole, Kate Hinton, treasurer of Walpole's "Win2007" pro-override group, said members have been working since January toward passage of the town's $3.9 million proposed tax increase.
On Saturday, they will see how effective their campaign has been, as voters head to the polls. The group has put together mailings, made phone calls, and even appointed "street captains" to build support at the neighborhood level.
Hinton said the money will help keep the town's budget balanced for the next three years, and allow for the restoration of several municipal and school positions that have fallen to cuts over the last three years.
Of the $3.9 total, $1.3 million will be kept in a stabilization fund for new hiring and level services in fiscal 2009 and 2010(cq). While Walpole voters approved a $3.7 million override in 2001(cq), Hinton said a $1 million dollar drop in state aid in 2003 bounced the town's budget back into the red.
The cost of the upcoming override to the owner of a median priced house, valued at $457,000, is $448 annually. "But it's a tax deduction, so it's really about $350," Hinton adds. "We've got it figured that close."
Saturday's contest in Walpole won't be a cakewalk, even with the efforts Win2007 has put in. Hinton concedes there is definitely a strong anti-override faction in town, as evidenced by the "Vote No" signs springing up on lawns.
Taso Makatos, a parent helping to promote the override, predicts a tight contest. "I think it's going to be a close vote," Makatos said. "Nobody likes higher taxes." Polls on Saturday will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
-- Christine Wallgren
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