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Georgetown override fails in close vote; recount is likely

Posted by Marcia Dick  May 15, 2007 04:52 PM

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Georgetown voters narrowly defeated a proposed $1.1 million override at the annual town election yesterday, but supporters are expected to seek a recount.

With nearly 50 percent of the towns registered voters turning out, the tax increase lost by 1,284 to 1,267.

Selectman Matt Vincent, a supporter of the ballot measure, said he had spoken earlier today with citizens planning to collect signatures on a petition needed for a recount. The town clerks office confirmed this afternoon that a resident had stopped by to pick up a petition.

Vincent said he supported having a recount because blanks were recorded on the override question on 67 ballots cast in the election.

"I think given the margin, its important to be able to look at those so no one has any doubts as to the final results," he said.

The annual Town Meeting on May 7 had authorized $1,061,822 in additional funding for the fiscal 2008 operating budget, conditioned on passage of the override. Of that amount, 71 percent would have gone to the schools, and the rest to other town departments.

Supporters had argued that the override is needed to help the town keep pace with rising costs. They said the defeat will mean the loss of two to three teachers, a reading tutor, the school facilities manager, and a custodian at the schools; a reduction in funding for the library, the Fire Department, and veterans services; and the turning off of 75 street lights, among other cuts.

The override also would have provided funds for hiring of four to five teachers and a Highway Department laborer; and the purchase of safety equipment for the Fire Departments.

"Im disappointed," School Committee chairman George Moker said. "But at the same time Im also encouraged by the record number of supporters for the override. ... That tells me that things are pointed in the right direction. However, the problems we have are real and ... this need is not just going to go away."

Selectman Lawrence Brennan, who opposed the override as excessive, said that supporters "worked extremely hard and had a large organization. They were relentless in their efforts. But people told them no."

For more on the vote, read Override fails in Georgetown.

- John Laidler

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About override central Coverage of Prop 21/2 override campaigns in more than 30 communities in Greater Boston.
Christine Wallgren is a correspondent in the Globe South bureau.
David Dahl is the Globe's regional editor.

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