Indeed, that's been the hiding place for Dolan and the aldermen since they discovered how to circumvent Prop 2 1/2. The Water and Sewer fund now has more employees with nothing to do with water water and sewer services than the opposite. We now have rates 50 percent higher than the average of the other 65 MWRA communities. In previous times, this would be called corruption. Once Dolan realized he had sunk the Titanic, he took the first lifeboat to Lynnfield. Anybody who supports an override is basically a blind unfortunate stuck on the bow. The city desperately needs a captain who heeds warnings and changes course.
The "community" would not "chip in" to raise money. That would essentially be an override. The proposed surcharge would only affect those with children currently in the school system, and would be in place every year, and would only cover whatever is put in place that costs over and above the balanced budget.
I agree with your other points. We do need a long term plan. It's time to do things differently, as GM stated, not just keep going the way we have been. That's the whole point - not everyone in Melrose can afford any more increases. That's why the onus should be on those who are currently demanding more than we can afford to pay. If that's what they want, give it to them, but make them pay for it. Maybe when faced with that, they'll come to their senses and realize that simply throwing more and more money at the schools hasn't worked in the past, and won't work now. Right now they're thinking only of their own kids, and not the bigger picture, and they're asking the rest of us, who can't afford it, to foot the bill.
You people are absolute idiots. You want to charge families for a public education? You think that's legal? You probably graduated from Melrose high.
Google "Free Appropriate Public Education" to learn how dumb you are, then shut up and pay for your schools, just like empty nesters did when you were in school.
You mean the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which refers to the right to public education for disabled people?
I'm wondering exactly how much time you spend playing with yourself, because it's clear you don't spend much getting the facts.
In the first paragraph you say charging for public schools is illegal, and in the second you say we should shut up and pay for the schools.
Here's a news flash, half-wit - we are already being charged for and are paying for public schools. It's called taxes.
I already pay property taxes in Melrose, thank you kindly. They've gone from just over $2000 on my modest home in 2005 to over $4100, which is double in absolute terms and over 55% in inflation-adjusted terms during a period when salary growth has stalled for many people. (I am not even go back to my first year in Melrose, which is well before 2005, but use 2005 as a handy benchmark since the final bonding of the middle school debt.)
The current grab-bag being discussed has to be reconciled with the much different picture given by the outgoing Mayor, which was that we needed money for the police/fire buildings, which in turn had to be reconciled with the story before that which was the library, which needed to be reconciled with the story before that, which was a different grab bag for the schools.
Mayor Infurna is being played for a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey exercise to have to be the public advocate for this losing proposition as a lame duck.
First, pay the middle school bond off.
Second, cleanse the Augean stables of of the miasma in our school administration.
Third, demonstrate a serious bona fide willingness to be accountable by inviting independent forensic audits of controls for significant episodes of city mismanagement through incompetent oversight, such as the buried cemetery scandals. (A lot more Melrosians know about these things than City Hall would prefer to imagine; City Hall is depending on the naivete of newbies to Melrose not to realize how many mismanagement skeletons are buried in this city.)
Those are hardly unreasonable asks. Then and only then will it be seemly and opportune to consider an override or debt exclusion for one discrete concrete capital project, not ongoing expenses.
Not before then.
All we hear from them is how some really hard decisions have to be made. So how about making a few? I refer you to the following excerpts from other posts.
"Why is always about finding ways to raise more money? It should be equally important to find ways to save money and curtail wasteful spending, but Melrose does not do that well at all.
For example, full time employees retire much later. Their pensions and health care cost is nowhere near as big a drain as are the many part-time retirees. For one thing, they don't stay on the rolls anywhere near as long, especially police and fire, who usually don't outlive their annuities, which end at about 11.5 years after retirement. What's really breaking the bank is the length of time the part-time retirees stay on the health plan. You could retire at 35 after 10 years, and be on the rolls for health care for 40 or 50 years. There are benefits to using part-time employees, but not when they are eligible for health care for life.
A modified plan offering some benefits to part-timers while they are employed could be crafted, but part-time employees should never be allowed to retire after just 10 years, and should not be eligible for health care for life. That would save millions of dollars a year.
Another viable option would be to fill part time positions with retirees. They're already getting their health plans, so they would impose no additional cost. The only partial stumbling block there is that state law that prohibits anyone who worked for a city or town from working more than 960 hours a year for another state or local government entity (or about 18.5 hours a week), or from earning more than the difference between their pension and what they would be making if they were still working. Even with those restrictions, I can see a lot of retirees working part-time to supplement their retirement, because no one is getting rich living on that. There's no exposure to a separate pension liability either. Two pensions from the same city or town is illegal. They'd be functioning essentially as subcontractors at a cost of only the salary for the job they were doing.
We don't need an override. What we need is some fiscal responsibility and an end to only thinking inside the box. Suggestions like the above, or a current student surcharge for items over and above budget, which may or may not be workable, are nevertheless the kind of innovative thinking that's required now, and are worthy of consideration.
None of these solutions require a degree in brain surgery. What they do require is the courage to do the right thing, even if it means upsetting the apple cart.
"Your taxes are going to go up. They have to."
I am not a supporter of the idea that you were battling with in your comment, but your aside excerpted above is both true in a literal sense and not necessarily as true in a predictive sense as you may prefer.
My property taxes just went up over 10% this fiscal year. (My salary did not.) So, yes, my taxes are going to go up, and have to, given the current structure. But whether they will go up *more* than the current structure is a different matter.
I won't be voting for the grab-bag that is currently being mooted for an override. I suspect many other Melrosians - including many with children in the schools - may well agree. Right now, the case being made for an override is pretty pathetic. And inconsistent with mewling from City Hall in the past two years about what we need more money for. Which is a sign for many in Melrose that it's something of a sham.
I have no moral or other duty to vote for such a half-baked thing, nor to hand over more money to an municipal government that has has been so marked by maladministration over the year. "But It's For The Children" is not a persuasive ground.
I am no anti-tax zealot. Far from it. But I've seen this city's government close enough over many years to observe its less lovely aspects. I don't require city government to be pristine in its omnicompetence, but Melrose needs a house cleaning and lots more sunshine shone into its darker crevices and hiding places. And the people wanting more money for the schools should be first in line in demanding that, not demanding that other voters ignore it. When people in City Hall and the school administration want to focus blame on why they have such a hard time getting more money from Melrosians, they should first look long and hard into the mirror.
PS: I should make much clearer something that has only been alluded to in passing in this tread, but that apparently has not yet dawned on any bright bulbs in City Hall: the geniuses who created and maintain the current water/sewer billing system ended up - inadvertently - putting a heavy thumb on the scale against voter appetite for future overrides and debt exclusions. It's one of those be-careful-what-you-ask-for situations. Combined with the dramatic increase in property taxes in the current fiscal year, voter appetite for an override is hardly more likely to be much higher than three years ago. There is a path out of this: pay off the current middle school bond, fix the current water/sewer boondoggle, clean house, et cet. That's the hard news maybe you don't want to hear.
My assessed value did not increase that much (more like 15%), and I have made no improvements. Rates generally decline when valuations go up because of structure of the base that is subject to Prop 2-1/2 (hence why they've decline as the current bubble has inflated), so the fact of a rate decline is misleading - it's a fulcrum/lever kind of thing. I will say that, as an owner of a modest home, it is my experience that people in the bottom third of valuations typically bear the hardest aspects of the general vector of property tax movements (something someone in the Assessor's office clued me into a decade ago, though I forget their explanation of the math of that). It's all going to get uglier when there's a popping of the current real estate bubble, because of the 2+-year lag in seeing that in valuations (I've been around this carousel at least a few times since I moved to Melrose). I've maintained a spreadsheet for years to see how my property tax changes compare to the averages for the city and over time and against the Prop 2-1/2 base if we didn't have the debt exclusion (though I don't go back so far as to capture the first override that I remember - for the unjust takings case for the kiddie care center on the Lynn Fells Parkway, which the city lost - my first introduction to the fiasco of Melrose city hall maladministration); I also have columns for annualized compound average rates of growth on an absolute and inflation-adjusted basis, and it's, um, illuminating - the kind of the City Hall would shudder to provide as an app to Melrose voters.
Whoever on the BOA votes for an override is going to have a very ugly constituency in a while were the override somehow to pass. Especially the newbies to Melrose who've bought at the peak of a bubble - of all folks, they should be the ones most wary of an override, because it's really going to be nasty for their wallets when we head into our next trough in the cycle.
Maybe that's the reason that the brighter bulbs (if there are any) on the BOA are probably trying to stick this on Mayor Infurna now while she's a lame duck - so that voters will be cursing her memory in 2020 (if I were Mayor Infurna, I would be saying to the proponents of an override: look, I am a lame duck with no mandate - one of you go get a mandate for clear and accountable override proposal by being elected mayor on that platform, thank you very kindly). Frankly, that's what I see as the real reason for the revival of this idea. It's so typical of the longstanding culture of Melrose government. Rob Dolan briefly had a good go at being the good-government reformer type cleaning up the Augean stables of the machine that preceded him, but he stayed on far too long and dirtied his own stables in turn. Informed journalists know that Melrose city government is not the shining beacon of wunnerfulness that our realtors promote it as.
Bottom line: I should be in the target audience for an override: I believe in the prudent raising of revenue to provide public goods such as public education and municipal infrastructure. But our city government has earned my deep distrust at its ability to be a good fiduciary for those funds, and I am using my dissenting voice to alert others to issues they may prefer to ignore. If that makes me a vox clamantis in deserto, so be it, but I don't pretend to be a prophet so much as a realist. Proponents of an override would garner more interest from folks like me if they realized that the main obstacles to their goals are the records of maladministration of folks in our city hall and school administration - and very specially the velvet veil that obscures and hushes up accountability and remedial action for such maladministration. That's another debt that is bearing compounded interest - in the form of voter distrust. "But it's for the children" doesn't begin to cut it.
PS: Anyone else notice that the local papers didn't run their ritual December article about the BOA's hard decision about how to finalize property tax rates for the current FY, and provide the ritual data on average increase, average valuation and average increase in valuation? (I've looked, and can't find it, but I could be wrong about that.) When I got my property tax bills for the second half of the FY, I understood why - City Hall wanted to soft pedal what was about to hit voters.
Neither the The Constitution nor the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantees free public education to anyone. If it did, the use of tax dollars to pay for it, since some of those dollars are paid by the parents of those being educated, would be unconstitutional. There is no such thing as "free" public education, nor is there a guarantee of such.
I don't understand your inability to get your head around this one simple fact. On the one hand your say public education is free, and on the other you say taxes will go up to pay for it. Last time I looked, something that has to be paid for isn't free.
Any idea why assessments for smaller homes are rising at two or three times the pace of larger homes?
Possibly effect of first-time entry buyers who can only afford that end of the market (which, btw, would another thing that would augur *against* any such voters having a positive appetite for an override), but there is also a maths issue that was once explained to me a decade ago in the Assessor's office about how the lower valued homes get screwed more but that I've since forgotten since I just use my spreadsheet to validate my own facts empirically.
Bottom line: this is not a propitious time to be approaching taxpayers with an override proposal of the type being bandied about now. It would be a stupid idea (at least for Mayor Infurna to allow herself to be saddled with).
Hey, you're talking to some of the same people who bought the "free" kindergarten line!
I know. I have hope that some have learned the hard way that they oughtn't be too credulous about the wunnerful things that City Hall promises to them if they would just trust the powers that be. I am not cynical, just experienced.
Just understand that far from all override skeptics are peddling lies and, if anything, have themselves wised up from credulity about the cases that have been made for overrides. The last override failed by a 5-3 margin and, if anything, the financial headwinds for ratepayers since have become steeper.
When people in City Hall and the school administration want to focus blame on why they have such a hard time getting more money from Melrose, they should first look long and hard into the mirror.
If you had kids in the system, paid any kind of attention beyond the school committee meetings and this message board you would know. Its not a secret.Keep drinking that koolaid. You clearly wouldn't recognize what a good education is if it bit you on your pretentious behind. But just like those many ignorant Melrosians ("true" or otherwise) who don't know the difference between the MSO and the BSO, you wouldn't understand what actual quality is, let alone recognize how much world-class quality--in education, arts, food, etc.--is within a couple or a few miles of Melrose because you're too limited to know the difference. Such parochialism should be embarrassing, but there again, you wouldn't understand Melrose's actual standing in the bigger world. As said before, keep drinking the koolaid or your fancy alcoholic beverages. You obviously need very much to believe that you live in the BEST place, with the BEST schools, sports teams, school music programs, etc. There's no hope for the likes of you.
Not exactly sure who the prior post was directed towards. Override supporters? Those who have bought into the Melrose Myth? Could you clarify?
Can somebody please post the school budget for the last 10 years?
It's not that difficult to have the BEST sports teams when you are playing in lowly Division 4. Just saying.
The city made the Police get the 30,000 dollar Pomeroy audit and it actually showed they were operating understaffed and underfunded causing dangerous conditions in the City. I’m sure an audit will expose the funding shellgame being played. Know it is time for the school to go audit
They did that because Dolan had a hard on for the PD. And you're right, it showed they were doing the job 15 Officers undermanned and equipment from the 80's and 90's. Now, to Dolan's bread and butter, the schools! Even though they are still decent at best, he poured his heard and (our money) soul into them. People are done with the schools, sorry people. It's why his last override got DESTROYED by 2 out of every 3 residents. It's time for Police and Fire updates, schools have had their shot.
Dolan had more than a hard on when dealing with the school side and superintendent. "He should of been focused on doing the job people voted him to do: leading the city forward on the tough issues of public safety, traffic and school reform." Thanks for skipping out on Melrose residents.
Watching the SC meeting and 2 public speakers question why all the cuts are from the school side while the city side budget is growing. It's very simple - appeal to people's fear (no money = bad schools) and they will give in and vote for an override. Sneaky, but it won't work because, people are already seeing through their lame lies.
Another override will fail again because the school committee and Mayor cannot justify it. I blame our school super, Taymore, for a lack of vision and leadership in looking how best to use the budgeted money and to look for creative ways to share costs with other area school systems. Melrose has done this with our health dept and veterans services, yet the school system refuses to consider these options. Based on the vote last Tuesday by the school committee, some members are getting fed up with Taymore - hopefully, they will be strong enough to convince other members to support major changes.
I’m sure an audit will expose the funding shellgame being played.
The PR Machine is still managing to keep hold of these well-meaning but naive parents, feeding them just enough to let them think they are having an effect and that they can feel proud being part of a "positive" process. They don't realize how they have been co-opted and are being used. They don't realize that they are only being given just enough information to make them Believe.There is chatter around about having another override. I personally would like this to be voted on when we have a Mayor in office that the residents have voted on.
Today the Senate passed a bill 38-0 that massively changes school funding. It's exoected to pass the House as well. Before any override gets on a ballot, let's see how the new formula affects Melrose. Supposedly it leans heavily towards municipalities that have maxed out their tax base.
Jun 11, 2018 - 4:03PM
Sixty eight grand in legal fees to outside council Nuttle, McAvoy...see 7.8a of the SC agenda packet of 6/12/18 for civil rights cases. OUCH!!!
City loses many principals in three years again. Melrose school officials to tackle the decline of principals, teachers, paras, guidance counselor and administration. Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools. Workplace bullying is on the rise. Unfortunately, it's even more prevalent in the field of education. It's going to take years to get back what has been neglected to the students of Melrose. The parents at the Winthrop school do not want another asst. principal. Would rather see a principal and another teacher with experience. Catherine Clarke where are you now for all the Bullying in the Melrose Workplace. The MTA, NEA, MEA and Union members can not do one dame thing about it sadly. The title changes of a lot of staff is not helping the workers who gave up over twenty five years of their life and now this.
:flag-us: :flag-us: How could you have known on June 14th it was FLAG DAY in the city of Melrose. No flags from the city or the realtors. No they just like taking your money and making up lies about the school districts and how wonderful the city is.:flag-us:Is this part of the budget or the override.
How did a political party become a cult? Scary!
Keep listening to CNN you weirdo.
Sounds like the last few post were the same a$$...Go away you are pathetic like the rest.
Let's not forget the 2-faced phony, HRC, who said in 2014:
“We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn't mean the child gets to stay,” Clinton said at the time. “So, we don't want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”
You still With Her?
And then stock the swamp. No, wait a minute, wasn't that supposed to be drain the swamp?