By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted March 26 to ask voters to approve a $9.5 million dollar Proposition 2 1/2 operational override.
This came after Selectmen briefly hesitated to move forward on this long-discussed issue at their regularly scheduled Board meeting, March 23.
The ballot question addresses an almost $6 million-dollar structural budget deficit for Shrewsbury.
Town seeks voter approval for tax increase
Proposition 2 1/2 limits the amount of tax levy a municipality can increase from year to year. The limit is 2.5 percent, which gets automatically assessed unless voters pass an override. If successful, this override will reset the tax levy.
Selectmen were close to passing the override March 23. But they delayed their vote due to the lack of clarity about what the town will receive from the American Rescue Plan federal stimulus package.
“We don’t know specifically the amount that is going to be allocated to the town of Shrewsbury,” remarked Town Manager Kevin Mizikar, March 23.
Among the unknown details was the question what the rules of would be regarding uses for that money. Further, whatever that final amount Shrewsbury does receive will split between fiscal year (FY) 2021 and FY 2022.
Mizikar estimated that the potential funds might be in the neighborhood of $11.2 million dollars. But he still could not confirm specifics, March 26, saying Gov. Charlie Baker had recently announced final information could take two additional weeks to trickle out.
Elected officials speak to voters ahead of town election override vote
When the Board convened, March 26, Mizikar reviewed FY 2022 budget details and confirmed that, with an override, the average family tax bill would increase by $704.34.
As taxes increase, town officials are immediately weighing in on the task now at hand for voters.
“We are as lean as we can be and I am very fearful of what the impact is going to be on the service levels throughout the town if this doesn’t pass,” Selectman Maurice DePalo said.
“This will define who we are and it’s up to us as leaders to recommend who we are as a community,” Selectmen John Samia added. “But it’s also important for our community to understand this will set forward where we go.”
The municipal election takes place on May 4.
To view the March 26 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdq4Oc6YkDc.