Town of Arlington Override Commitments
The Select Board passed a motion on April 17th for a package of commitments if the voters pass the override. The commitments focus on fiscal discipline, providing quality municipal services, and alleviating the financial strain of the override on taxpayers.
The Select Board will commit to not requesting another Proposition 2 ½ override for at least four years. To support this timeline, the Select Board has specified percentages by which the general government operating budget, the general education operating budget, and special education costs should be increased each year. The Town will protect against future fiscal challenges and keep its strong bond rating by maintaining financial reserves of at least 5% during the next four years.
The Select Board will also commit to maintaining current levels of service while also addressing areas in which residents would benefit from improvements. The Town’s base budget for pedestrian infrastructure and senior transportation will be increased by $250,000 to improve safety and mobility for all residents. School funding will be increased to deal with Arlington’s dramatic enrollment growth and funding shortfalls that impact instruction, student safety, and the achievement gap for high needs students.
The Select Board’s actions to minimize an override’s impact on taxpayers have a special focus on seniors and others with income challenges. Conditional upon a favorable vote at this spring’s Town Meeting, new tax relief programs will include a municipal circuit breaker and increased eligibility for property tax deferral options. The Town will work with financial leadership to develop bonding schedules that will minimize single-year tax increases and debt service costs related to the Arlington High School rebuild. The Town is already planning to remove certain water and sewer debt costs from property tax bills and shift them to water bills, where the costs will be prorated according to use.