86WVN #86: Answers to Override FAQ's
- Apr 25, 2005Wayland Voters Network
April 25, 2005
Dear Wayland Voter,
The Board of Water Commissioners will hold a public meeting tonight,
Mon., April 25, Senior Center, Town Building, 7:30pm to discuss the
proposed filtration of Wayland's water. Annual Town Meeting will
consider an article to spend $300,000 to design a water filtration
plant at Baldwin Pond. High levels of iron and manganese at several
well sites are adversely affecting the taste of the water and often
result in discolored water. A preliminary estimate of the cost of the
construction of a filtration system is $5,000,000.
WARRANT HEARING MON., APRIL 25/Town Building, Selectmen's Meeting
Room, 8 p.m.
ANNUAL TOWN ELECTION TUES., APRIL 26/polls open 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING BEGINS THURS., APRIL 28/WHS Field House 7:45 p.m.
Voters have asked WVN for clarification of several points related to
the tax override in tomorrow's election. Here are answers to the
most frequently asked questions.
HOW DOES THE OVERRIDE APPEAR ON THE BALLOT?
QUESTION NO. 1:
"Shall the Town of Wayland be allowed to assess an additional $2.3
million dollars in real estate and personal property taxes for the
purposes of the general operating expenses of the Town for the fiscal
year beginning July first, two thousand and five?"
The complete ballot:
HOW MUCH WOULD BE CUT FROM THE SCHOOL BUDGET IF THE OVERRIDE FAILS?
HOW MUCH FROM OTHER TOWN DEPARTMENTS? IS EACH SHARE EQUITABLE?
The School Department is proposing a total budget of $27.8 million in
FY06, a 6.7% increase over the FY05 total. Of the total, $27.4
million must be appropriated by Town Meeting (the rest is covered by
fees and other revenues), a 5.7% increase over last year. The School
Dept. has outlined cuts totaling $1.5 million if the override fails,
a decrease of 5.5% from the total request.
School budget, proposed cuts, related info:
Other town department budgets would be cut by $781,000. The School
Dept. would bear 66% of the cuts, other departments 34%. This is in
keeping with the approximate percentage of the total operating budget
that is devoted to the schools vs. other departments. But it could
be argued that the School Dept. is not bearing its fair share,
because cuts would come from a school budget increased by 5.7%,
whereas cuts in most other departments would come from budgets only
slightly increased or level-funded. In terms of head count, it could
also be argued that the proposed reductions in police and fire
department personnel are disproportionately high compared to the
proposed reductions in school personnel. (Police 2 FTE out of 22
or 9%; Fire 3 FTE out of 25 or 12%; Schools 16 FTE out of approx.
400 or 4%.)
FinCom's proposed cuts for all departments.:
I'VE HEARD THAT ANYWHERE FROM 10 TO 2O TEACHERS COULD BE LAID OFF IF
THE OVERRIDE FAILS. WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE?
The bottom line is that the net reduction in teaching and other
certified staff positions would be ten. According to the School
Department, 16.3 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) certified staff positions
would be eliminated (two HS physical education teachers, one academic
teacher, one counselor, two elementary teachers, plus reductions in
other teaching, library, music, art, PE and computer instruction
positions). At the same time, six new FTE academic teachers (three
high school, three elementary) are being hired for the next school
year. So the net reduction would be 10.3 FTE. It's not clear how
many of those are currently vacant and would remain unfilled, and how
many individuals actually would be laid off. Adding to the lack of
clarity is the fact that on the School Dept.'s website, there are
general references to differing numbers of layoffs.
Here's how the FTE reductions break out, according to School Dept.
web site documents:
PE Teachers 2.0 FTE $ 144,355
Adjustment Counselor 1.0 FTE 59,401
Academic Teacher 1.0 FTE 51,692
[three teachers added so net reduction at high school = one]
Cluster Reduction 1.7 FTE 95,275
Math Boost 0.6 FTE 31,015
Librarian 0.2 FTE 13,283
Computer Specialist 0.2 FTE 14,870
Tech Ed 1.0 FTE 65,712
CH Kindergarten Teacher 0.65 FTE 33,600
CH Elementary Teacher 1.0 FTE 51,692
CH Art Teacher 0.2 FTE 17,374
CH Music Teacher 0.2 FTE 12,022
CH Librarian 0.2 FTE 19,112
CH PE Teacher 0.2 FTE 14,870
CH Instrumental Teacher 0.7 FTE 46,349
HH Elementary Teacher 1.0 FTE 60,221
HH Computer Specialist 0.2 FTE 13,186
HH Art Teacher 0.3 FTE 24,539
HH Music Teacher 0.3 FTE 24,539
HH Librarian 0.5 FTE 43,436
HH PE Teacher 0.2 FTE 19,112
HH Instrumental Music 0.5 FTE 32,904
LO Kindergarten Teacher 0.65 FTE 33,600
LO Computer Specialist 0.2 FTE 17,374
LO Art Teacher 0.2 FTE 13,142
LO Music Teacher 0.2 FTE 13,142
LO Librarian 0.5 FTE 43,436
LO PE Teacher 0.2 FTE 10,059
LO Instrumental Music 0.5 FTE 31,904
[two FTE teachers added at Claypit Hill so net reduction at CH = one]
[one reading teacher added to be shared by elementary schools]
There would also be reductions of 1.32 FTE non-certified staff. This
includes 0.51 FTE reduction in HS department secretary and 0.95 FTE
reduction in Central Office clerical, as well as partial reductions
in teaching and library assistant positions which are essentially
offset by partial additions of other teaching and computer assistant
HOW WOULD PUBLIC SAFETY BE AFFECTED IF THE OVERRIDE FAILS?
Police Chief Robert Irving and Fire Chief Robert Loomer wrote in the
Wayland Town Crier on April 14 that they would cut two police
positions and three fire positions. One police position would be the
community services officer. The second cut would affect the number of
officers on patrol and detectives available to investigate crimes.
For the Fire Department, the reduction would be three full-time fire
fighters. Fire Chief Loomer told WVN that as a result, staffing at
the two fire stations would be the bare minimum, necessitating
overtime pay to firefighters who are called back to fill vacant
shifts when someone is out on leave. "The overtime budget is up,
while efficiency is down," said Loomer. He also said the 10-member
on-call "auxillary force" would be disbanded, for a savings of
$12,000. These residents of Wayland, Natick and Weston receive
special training and are on-call to provide extra staffing in case of
major emergencies. (Loomer said ordinarily some or all of them are
brought in 6-to-8 times/year.) Without the on-callers, Loomer said
the department would rely more heavily on other communities when
extra support is needed, and it may cost "a little more" in
WHAT WILL BE THE TAX IMPACT IF THE OVERRIDE PASSES? IF IT FAILS?
According to the Finance Committee's report in the Town Meeting
warrant (p. 10), if the override passes, the property tax rate will
increase from $12.58 per $1,000 of assessed value to $13.70, an
increase of 8.9%. This 8.9% increase consists of 2.5% allowable
under Prop 2-1/2, 0.4% in estimated new growth, and 6% for the
override. To calculate your tax increase, multiply your current tax
bill by .089. (E.g., if tax is median of approx. $6,700 x .089 =
$596 increase.) Or, to calculate your entire tax bill, divide your
assessed value by 1,000 and multiply $13.70 by that factor. (E.g.,
median value of approx. $532,000/1,000 = 532 x $13.70 = $7,288 yearly
According to Finance Director Michael DiPietro, if the override
fails, then your taxes would increase by 2.5% plus 0.4% for any `new
growth' or major renovation of your property (if your property
remains unchanged, then your taxes would increase by only 2.5% and
would not be subject to the 0.4% increase as well).
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT TOWN MEETING (begins Thurs., April 28) IF THE
OVERRIDE PASSES? IF IT FAILS?
If the override passes, voters at Town Meeting will debate and vote
the budget as outlined in the warrant booklet. If the override
fails, the Finance Committee will make a motion for an alternative
budget, downsized from the warrant numbers by $2.3 million
(alternative budget will be distributed at TM). Then voters present
will debate and vote that budget.
I'VE HEARD THAT THERE WILL BE ANOTHER OVERRIDE ON THE BALLOT NEXT
YEAR NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS THIS YEAR. WHY, AND HOW MUCH WOULD THE
PROPOSED FY07 OVERRIDE BE?
Finance Committee Chair Bob Lentz has said that another override next
year is a certainty, no matter what happens this year. The exact
amount can't be determined at this time, but it's quite possible that
it could approximate the current override. One reason is that
teachers, representing more than two-thirds of the town workforce,
have a 3.5% salary increase locked in for FY07. Typically salary
increases for other town employees match the teachers' contract.
Also, huge increases in health care costs show no signs of abating,
while a significant increase in state aid seems highly unlikely.
Wayland cash reserves are at a low level. In addition, if Town
Meeting approves the Water Department enterprise fund, then reserves
from that source can't be tapped for the operating budget. So unless
some radical change happens, it's prudent to assume more of the same
next year in terms of the operating budget shortfall.
WHAT IF VOTERS REJECT THE OVERRIDE BUT WANT TO AVOID CERTAIN
REDUCTIONS IN A PARTICULAR DEPARTMENT (E.G., SCHOOLS, POLICE, FIRE)?
Voters will debate Wayland's budget the first night of Town Meeting
(Apr. 28). A motion from the floor could amend the proposed budget
to restore funds, presumably from cash reserves, to stop certain
layoffs or other reductions. Or the Board of Selectmen could call a
special election on an override for that specific purpose.
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Wayland Voters Network
Margo Melnicove, Editor