Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Frequently asked questions: "Can the town guarantee that the funds from the override will always be spent exactly the same way?"

The wording of the ballot question asks for $3 million, but I am told $1.8 million will be used to maintain services in schools, $300,000 to maintain town services and $900,000 for road repair. Can the town guarantee that the funds from the override will always be spent exactly the same way?

Only for one year. There are some states where property taxes are divided into school taxes and other taxes, but that is not the case in Massachusetts. All property tax revenues flow into the town's general fund, and the Town Council can only allocate money from the general fund one year at a time, based on the town's priorities and needs. This provides flexibility in case circumstances change; one year the Police could need more money and the next, it could be the Library.

The override will balance the budget and prevent a major deficit. It will increase the amount of money in the general fund that Franklin will have available to meet our town's needs in future years, providing better financial flexibility to help the schools, police, public safety and library, as well as other important services. The percentage of Franklin's budget allocated to each town department has been relatively stable from year to year, and it would take extreme financial circumstances for the Town Council to attempt to dramatically change the budget. Although they cannot legally make any guarantees, the Town Council and Town Administrator have clearly stated their intention of adhering to the numbers given in the override question in future years.

One of a series to address frequently asked questions


The special election on June 8th gives Franklin voters the choice:

Increase taxes to continue to provide the services we have this year (and that does not restore any of the services already cut)


Continue to cut municipal services for all and cut educational opportunities for our children

I'll help to provide the information. You need to do two things:
  1. Make your choice
  2. Vote on June 8th

You get bonus points if you talk with your neighbors about this and get them to vote!

Additional information on the override can be found here:

Franklin, MA

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