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Mendon Residents to Vote on $2.16 million in Overrides at the Annual Town Meeting

In all, 27 articles will be voted on during Mendon's May 6 Annual Town Meeting. Out of the 27 articles, four are asking residents to increase their taxes through a Proposition 2 ½ override and three debt exclusions. The Proposition 2 ½ overrides, both operational and debt exclusions, total $2.16 million.

An operational override results in a permanent increase to the town's levy limit while the additional amount for a debt exclusion is added to the levy limit for the life of the debt only.

Article 23 on the warrant is asking for a Proposition 2 ½ operational override of $929,979. Town officials are bringing forward the override to help bridge the funding gap in the Mendon Upton Regional Schools District's $28.3 million budget for fiscal 2012. The School Committee is requesting Mendon fund $7.13 million, its portion of the school budget, which is a 14.95 percent increase from last year's request of approximately $6.2 million. Should the $929,979 override pass, $409,647, will be put towards the municipal budget and the remaining $520,332 will go to the schools.

In addition to the operational override, three Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusions overrides will also be voted on. The first debt exclusion, Article 20, involves the purchase of the multipurpose trackless vehicle for the Highway Department, which will cost $121,000. The vehicle will be used as a sidewalk plow for the town but can also be used as lawnmower and sander. Over the winter, the town's 1968 trackless vehicle caught fire three times and must be replaced.

The second debt exclusion on the warrant, Article 21, is requesting approximately $150,000 to purchase a pumper/tanker for the Fire Department. Recently, the Department was awarded a Homeland Security grant totaling $190,000 that will fund more than half the costs of the new emergency response vehicle. The $150,000 debt exclusion is needed to fund the remaining amount.

Article 22, the third debt exclusion vote, is to replace the roof, boiler, and windows at Miscoe Hill School. The total cost for the project is $4 million. Through a grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, 47 percent of the project's costs will be funded. The remaining costs will be divided by Mendon and Upton with Mendon funding $960,917 and Upton paying $1,147,744

According to Assistant Assessor Jean Berthold, for every $100,000 Mendon overrides this year, it will cost property owners 12.826 cents per thousand of their property's valuation. She added the average home in Mendon was assessed at $360,000 this year. Using those figures, Berthold said the $929,979 operational override would cost the average assessed property ($360K) an additional $428.40 per year, which includes the additional 3 percent Community Preservation Act charge. She could not provide figures for the debt exclusion overrides since the terms of the debt have not been established.

In order to pass, the override and debt exclusions must be voted on twice. The second vote will take place during Mendon's Annual Town Election on May 17 at Miscoe Hill School. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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