SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 9, 2014

Letter: Ipswich override reduces access to housing

(Continued)

The requested override for Ipswich is quite high. At $2.75 million, it is almost twice the last override requested. Of that $2.75 million, only $1.3 million of the first year is to fund critical requests, while $600,000 is for additional spending. The final $875,000 is not being spent the first year; in fact, a four-year average of $1 million of tax money is being withheld from the local economy by being placed into a so-called “contingency fund,” a fund that the five-year school plan leaves depleted by the final year of the five-year school budget. Many studies have shown the positive impact of extra dollars flowing through our economy, so it seems a bad plan to take funds away from our local economy and hold them in a bank for four years. What is worse about the current plan is that the use of this “contingency fund” papers over the real increase in spending over this time, which will create an estimated $1.5 million shortfall in the year-six budget, requiring yet another contentious override and corresponding large tax increase five years from now. Good fiscal planning would fix the long-term issue instead of just kicking the can down the road to the next override in five years.

With the override being such a large amount, yet the pro-override cry predicting a dramatic loss of teachers and classes if it does not pass, it would seem more practical for the override to be broken into two separate overrides: one to maintain the schools we have, another to fund the additional spending, with neither including the large contingency fund. This would allow for the citizens of Ipswich to have a choice on maintaining the schools and allow them an option toward spending more on additional services, while not taking money out of the economy. The current override has these separate items bundled together, forcing citizens to have to swallow the extra funding requests and “contingency” funds.

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