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Bridgewater tries again, after three tax defeats

Posted by Your Town  June 12, 2008 08:15 AM

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Bridgewater has a dismal record on overrides - three defeats in the last five years - but town officials hope the outcome of the ballot vote on a $1.36 million proposal this Saturday will be different.

The tax increase would supply $100,000 to the Fire Department for civilian dispatchers, $40,000 to restore the Town Planner position, $275,000 to the School Department to address class sizes and maintain educational assistants, and $326,000 to the public library to allow the operation to be open 63 hours per week. The final $600,000 would go into cash reserves.

Both the selectmen and the Advisory Board support the override. Advisory Board Chairman Michael Berolini has assured voters the increase would place the town in a solid financial position until 2015. Officials have characterized the increase as a "fiscally responsible override" since it is accompanied by a longterm plan.

Opponents have been vocal."As far as I'm concerned, 'a fiscally responsible override' is an oxymoron," said Mildred Hasson, president of the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility. The polls, located at the old high school building on Mt. Prospect Street, will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

-- Chris Legere

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5 comments so far...
  1. I'm from Bridgewater. They've had a history of overspending and then asking the citizens to bail the town government out. Check out the three new schools (High School, Middle School, newer school across from South Drive). With some proper planning and fiscal responsibility, they wouldn't be in this mess.

    Posted by Mark June 13, 08 07:19 PM
  1. It is time to face the fact that the current system of government in Bridgewater is
    outdated and unworkable. One board constantly fighting another. It's time we
    made a change and either hire a Town Manager or elect a Mayor who has a financial and managment background who will actually be held accountable
    for the Town's fiscal issues.

    Could someone please explain to me how after the last override defeat we went
    from losing Police and Firemen to hiring a fireman and getting a new truck that
    they most likely don't have in New York or LA> We needed that truck like we needed artifical turf at the High School.

    Posted by Kathy June 14, 08 09:47 PM
  1. At about 8:20 pm, Town Clerk Ron Adams announced the results of the balloting. With 5553 votes cast, representing 38% of eligible voters, the tally was YES=2024, NO=3529. It is enlightening to look back at the four operational over-rides considered since 2004:
    July 30, 2004: $2.2M -- Yes=1933, No=4030
    June 16, 2007: $2.9M -- Yes=3504, No=3893
    Sept. 8, 2007: $2.2M -- Yes=3303, No=3553
    June 14, 2008: $1.3M -- Yes=2024, No=3529
    Some things can be estimated from the results: (a) The dollar amount does not effect YES votes; (b) The NO votes consistently turn out with 3500+ votes, or 25% of registered voters; (c) For a YES result to occur, proponents will need to convince 4000 registered voters to vote YES.

    Posted by Joe Gillis June 14, 08 11:27 PM
  1. Your statement that "they wouldn't be in this mess" is the heart of the problem in Bridgewater. For some reason, a huge portion of our population doesn't understand that we all have a civic responsibility to each other. It's not a matter of "they" versus "us". The mess you speak of belongs to you as well, and it will now be up to 'no' voters to bring forth ideas and make sacrifices of their time and resources to finally set Bridgewater right again. However, I have a feeling that most will slink back to the shadows as that population tends to be critical, negative, and non-productive. Many who voted 'no' yesterday don't attend town meetings or educate themselves on the issues but are solely motivated by greed. Previous generations would be mortified to see what we've done with their legacy.

    Posted by Kerry June 15, 08 10:24 AM
  1. The mess is here! Like it or not and the school system is not responsible for the overall fiscal management of the town. Not offering quality education will drop your property values and make the town less appealing to young affluent couples. Think twice before you opt out of the overide this time.

    Class sizes are already very large and after the first big hit the number of students attending your high school dropped dramatically. People with children are opting for school choice or private schools.

    Maybe responsible voting and more detailed assessment of political structures would be a better place to start. It seems as if people put a ton of energy into making sure the overrides do not pass and not a lot into why the need is really there.

    Posted by Marybeth June 16, 08 11:14 AM
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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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