Co-chair, YES for Lexington marketing campaign
Lexington voters are being requested to transfer ahead with three important capital tasks: a brand new Hastings Elementary College, a brand new hearth station headquarters, and a brand new Lexington Youngsters’s Place (our city pre-college). All of those buildings are over 60 years previous, have outlived their helpful life, and are critically vital to our city. I strongly urge voters to help the poll questions.
Our hearth station headquarters, in-built 1947, was designed for a city of 14,500 folks and about 650 responses per 12 months. At present, it serves over 32,000 residents requiring greater than three,600 responses yearly. Seventy years in the past, hearth vehicles have been half the dimension and weight of recent autos, making parking and storage extraordinarily tight in the present building. Over time, the heavier tools brought on structural failings of the equipment ground, which is now supported by momentary cribbing.
Inbuilt 1955, Hastings Elementary College doesn't meet fashionable college building codes. It, too, has skilled structural issues, and college students attend a faculty with no sprinkler system. The building’s diploma of degradation certified it for $16.5 million in reimbursements from the state, which would scale back alternative prices from $65.three million to $48.eight million. A “no” vote would imply rejecting this assist, and the city could be liable for pricey upgrades to merely carry the building to code. We'd additionally forgo an vital alternative to add a lot-wanted capability to our over-crowded district.
Lexington Youngsters’s Place is our state-mandated, built-in preschool, serving kids who qualify for particular training providers alongside “usually creating” friends. It has been moved 14 occasions since 1997 and has now outgrown its present house. Since 2015, the preschool has been cut up between two buildings — separated by 600 ft throughout two parking tons — creating unsafe situations for our most weak college students and programmatic inefficiencies.
These tasks are the results of years of cautious planning by city officers, each skilled and volunteer. They'll lead to a rise in annual taxes that may rise to a most of $418 for a median dwelling in fiscal 2024 earlier than declining after that. We perceive this can be a vital ask of voters, however we are able to now not delay these important investments in our city infrastructure.
(For extra on YES for Lexington’s tackle the tasks and the efforts of the city to present sound fiscal administration, go to www.yes4lex.org.)
Chair, Committee for Monetary Duty in Lexington
The Dec. four vote is about how to fund three tasks — a brand new Hastings college, a hearth station, and a pre-college — costing $85.7 million.
All of us need these tasks constructed. The query is how to fund them.
The poll questions ask, “Shall the City of Lexington be allowed to exempt from the provisions of [Propostion 2½] . . . the quantities required to pay for the bonds issued so as to pay prices . . . ” for the tasks.
The reply is “No” as a result of these tasks might be paid for inside the city’s present finances, with out elevating taxes.
If voters say “Sure,” the city will gather $6 million extra yearly in taxes to repay the debt. We calculate a typical home ($831,000 evaluation) can pay $350-$490, or about three p.c extra in annual taxes. (Our figures, primarily based on knowledge offered to City Assembly, are detailed at Lexvote.org. They differ from the city’s projections).
If voters say “No,” the city can fund these tasks with no tax enhance, by saving $6.5 million yearly, as follows:
■ Reassign simply three.2 p.c of our elementary college students, whereas staying inside present classroom tips. We estimate this protects $2 million and frees up 16 classroom areas to accommodate rising enrollments.
■ Elevate our workers’ salaries and cut back the city’s 85 p.c contribution to well being premiums to preserve whole compensation intact. Our married workers could have an incentive to subscribe to a plan from their partner’s employer. We estimate this protects the city $2.5 million.
■ Persuade the state or communities sending us METCO college students to cowl the $2 million we estimate the program prices Lexington taxpayers.
Moreover, Lexington can increase extra money by assessing giant industrial properties at full market worth (many at the moment are vastly beneath-assessed) and lower taxes on small properties (the place seniors and folks with restricted incomes have a tendency to stay) with a “residential exemption.”
Now could be the time to fund tasks creatively with out tax will increase, particularly in gentle of the looming want to fund a significant highschool renovation. It’s not too late to implement these measures, ignored by the City for too lengthy: Vote “No” so the City funds these tasks with no three p.c tax enhance.
(For extra on the Committee for Monetary Duty in Lexington’s place on the tasks and their value, go to Lexvote.org.)
Final week’s argument: Should Nationwide Soccer League gamers be punished for kneeling throughout the nationwide anthem?
Sure: 69.74% (53 votes)
No: 30.26% (23 votes)
As instructed to Globe correspondent John Laidler. He might be reached at email@example.com.