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WVN #86: Answers to Override FAQ's

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  • waylandvoters2
    Wayland Voters Network April 25, 2005 Dear Wayland Voter, The Board of Water Commissioners will hold a public meeting tonight, Mon., April 25, Senior Center,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 25, 2005
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      Wayland 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:
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/townclerk/elections.htm

      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:
      http://www.wayland.k12.ma.us/announcements.html

      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.:
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/accounting/index.htm

      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:
      HIGH SCHOOL
      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]
      MIDDLE SCHOOL
      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
      ELEMENTARY
      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
      positions.

      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
      overtime.

      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
      taxes.)

      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.

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your
      friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own
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      Wayland Voters Network
      Margo Melnicove, Editor
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