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Saugus faces $5.2m question

Posted by Marcia Dick  March 22, 2007 08:00 AM

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Forget the Iron Works - if Saugus passes an override on April 24, it will be something new in the town's history.

Historically, Saugus voters have given the OK to some debt exclusions, but taken a pass on the majority of them. Some examples: In 1999, voters narrowly approved a $13 million debt exclusion to build a new school to replace Veterans Memorial Elementary School, which had been condemned. In 2003, voters rejected an $88.1 million override to build five new schools and increase the school budget by $1 million.

If the yeas have it on this year's override, the average homeowner's property tax bill will rise $400, to $3,626.72.

‘‘I think it’s a small price to pay for the services we will be able to maintain,’’ said Town Manager Andrew R. Bisignani. ‘‘Of course, it’s up to the voters to decide.’’

The $5.2 million tax increase is believed to be the largest proposed among 33 Bay State communities considering Proposition 2 1/2 overrides. None of the proposals match Saugus, either in the dollar amount or the scope of services dependent on the outcome, according to the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

‘‘That’s a big number,’’ said John Robertson, deputy legislative director of the trade group that tracks overrides. ‘‘It’s not targeted for a library, or the schools, as other communities are ... It’s to balance the budget.’’

For the rest of the story from Saugus, see the story in Globe North today.

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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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