Alderman & City Politics
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Override Proposal

So according to Infurna, she is requesting a $5.18 million override, with every dime going to the schools.

Does anyone NOT realize that it's NOT a $5.18 million override? It's $5.18 million every year forever.

You could save almost that much by simply getting rid of lifetime pensions and full time health care after 10 years, especially for part-time employees. The dollar saved has exactly the same value as the dollar of new revenue, and yet we continue to see successive administrations do nothing more than throw more and more money at the problem, while never addressing wastefulness such as the above.

Shameful. Voting emphatically NO.

Re: Override Proposal

Shameful
So according to Infurna, she is requesting a $5.18 million override, with every dime going to the schools.

Does anyone NOT realize that it's NOT a $5.18 million override? It's $5.18 million every year forever.

You could save almost that much by simply getting rid of lifetime pensions and full time health care after 10 years, especially for part-time employees. The dollar saved has exactly the same value as the dollar of new revenue, and yet we continue to see successive administrations do nothing more than throw more and more money at the problem, while never addressing wastefulness such as the above.

Shameful. Voting emphatically NO.
So the schools will receive this money every year ? Can it be diverted if needed elsewhere?

Re: Override Proposal

Well, her "proposal" only specifies what would be done with the first year's revenue. Other than the first year it's completely unencumbered and unspecific. You tell me if you think THAT'S a good idea.

Think about it. Here's $5.18 million a year and you can do whatever you want with it. In my world, you propose a project, then propose a way to fund it. Here they're proposing funding for projects that don't exist.

Re: Override Proposal

Yes, we all realize that it is every year. Thank you. And yes they outlined how the budget will be for the first year. That's how budgets work. When it's time to do the next year's budget, that money will be allocated as needed based on what theyve seen from the previous year. And if enough people think they did a bad job with a future budget, then they won't be reelected. Much of that budget money, however, will be hard to shift, because it will go to personnel costs and closing the state budget gap. So there will be some flexibility in future years - just as there is with nearly every other budget department. Money will change as needs do, which is how its supposed to work. You're raising a problem that isn't actually a problem, but is how the budgeting system is supposed to work. I'd be fully against the idea of keeping these specific numbers for a long period of time - we need budget flexibility to adjust to a changing community.

Re: Override Proposal

Come on, man
Yes, we all realize that it is every year. Thank you. And yes they outlined how the budget will be for the first year. That's how budgets work. When it's time to do the next year's budget, that money will be allocated as needed based on what theyve seen from the previous year. And if enough people think they did a bad job with a future budget, then they won't be reelected. Much of that budget money, however, will be hard to shift, because it will go to personnel costs and closing the state budget gap. So there will be some flexibility in future years - just as there is with nearly every other budget department. Money will change as needs do, which is how its supposed to work. You're raising a problem that isn't actually a problem, but is how the budgeting system is supposed to work. I'd be fully against the idea of keeping these specific numbers for a long period of time - we need budget flexibility to adjust to a changing community.
Of course it's a problem. It's a $5.18 million tax increase with absolutely no oversight or specifics after the first year, to be spent however they see fit. I think we all know where every dime of that is going to go, and it won't be infrastructure or public safety. In fact, it will make it substantially harder to get anything done in that regard, especially since there is and will be no effort whatsoever to address boondoggles like water and sewer and health care. Come on, man.

Re: Override Proposal

The over ride will be forever.

Re: Override Proposal

Ok, here's how it works. Mayor will say it's all for education and possibly even set up a budget line item for it. In the most simplistic case, she takes $5.18 million AWAY from General Fund education funding and spends it elsewhere, then uses the $5.18 million override money there. She's not lying but she is being disingenuous as the entire $5.18 million override money is going to education but in reality it's level funded and more money is spent elsewhere through the General Fund.

That's simplistic. In "real life", the General Fund education budget simply erodes over time - up 1% next year as opposed to 2% in other line items - and is "replaced" by the override money.

It's all about the marketing optics. Saying it's for "education" tugs on the heart strings. Paying for overly and unsustainably generous retiree pension and health costs, not so much!

BTW, Melrose is not alone with more and more resources going to retirees. Illinois, Connecticut, and several states are having huge pension and OPEB (Other post-Employment Benefits - mostly health care) difficulties while several cities/towns have declared bankruptcy. However, these difficulties mostly rear their heads not through bankruptcies but through declining services, usually education.

So "Come on, man", it really is a big problem unless the Mayor is willing to say, and the Aldermen/people/whatever codify not only that the override money will be used for education, but that the General Fund education budget will not be "punished" to the advantage of other line items.

Re: Override Proposal

Soxboy
It's all about the marketing optics. Saying it's for "education" tugs on the heart strings. Paying for overly and unsustainably generous retiree pension and health costs, not so much!

BTW, Melrose is not alone with more and more resources going to retirees. Illinois, Connecticut, and several states are having huge pension and OPEB (Other post-Employment Benefits - mostly health care) difficulties while several cities/towns have declared bankruptcy. However, these difficulties mostly rear their heads not through bankruptcies but through declining services, usually education.


I don't begrudge a retired cop or fireman who worked 30 or more years their pension and health care. They have for sure earned it, and it's the deal we made with them when they took the job.

The problem is directly related to the number of part-time and/or short term employees. Their pensions aren't really the issue. For example if you are Group 1, you need to work 10 years and be at least 55 years old to qualify for the minimum pension - 15%. Group 2 (cops, firefighters) must work 10 years and be 55 years old to qualify for the minimum pension - 20%.

The real problem is the handing out of full health care for life to everyone who works 10 years, especially if that employee is/was part-time. At the very least, that ought to be linked to the criteria for deciding pension percentage. A cop or firefighter, in order to get a full 80% pension, must be at least 60 (used to be 55 until pension reform) and work at least 32 years. Google Mass Group 2 Retirement Percentage Chart. The same chart ought to be used to determine what percentage of health care you are eligible for if you retire before you reach maximum.

Additionally, no part-time employee should ever be entitled to full health care for life. That, actually, is the worst budget buster of all.

Re: Override Proposal

This is a lot of money the Mayor is asking for and not one penny to add to our Police Dept. The residents in this town do a great job of bashing our MPD and except more and more. I cannot support an override with the entire amount going to the schools. Our water bills are higher than most towns in our area so don’t tell me our taxes are lower. Do they have that $50 charge (which is a tax ) on their water bills? NO

Re: Override Proposal

Don’t we “own” the modular classrooms for 10 years ?