Shrewsbury library vote is for debt exclusion, not override
To the Editor:
The appearance of “Vote No on Proposition 2 ½ Override” and similar signs throughout Shrewsbury are based either on a misunderstanding of Massachusetts Tax Law at best or disingenuousness at the worst. The signs are intended to refer to, and defeat, a Library Renovation Debt Exclusion question that will come before Shrewsbury voters on November 5th should a Special Town Meeting approve it on October 21st.
It is most important to note that an override would result in a permanent increase in Shrewsbury’s tax levy limit. It would stay with us forever. This is what the opponents of the Library would have you believe. Unlike overrides, debt exclusions do not become part of the base upon which the tax levy limit is calculated. Debt exclusion only allows for a temporary increase in taxes over a community’s levy limit. The additional amount for the payment of debt service is added to the levy limit only for the life of the debt. For more details, one may read “Levy Limits: A Primer on Proposition 2 ½” (Ref. www.mass.gov/dor/docs/dls/publ/misc/levylimits.pdf ).
Shrewsbury voters should also know that, as the Library Renovation debt service begins, Shrewsbury’s debt service on other projects continues to be retired and, its tax base continues to expand; both factors offsetting its cost.
The opponents of a much needed library renovation would do well not to spread false and misleading information throughout Shrewsbury. Unfortunately, these signs do just that.
Frank B. Stille
Trustee, Shrewsbury Public Library
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