This is a perfectly constructed response to the hysteria of the fact-challenged Yes side.
And, by the way, there are plenty of "solutions" embedded and directly stated in the requests of the override questioners (another classic Dolan smear is to imply that no solutions are presented to the trumped-up, ginned-up "crisis")! But let's start with the basic facts of the proponents: what are the actual figures, budget projections, budget history, etc. Then determine where the problems are, and then have a balanced approached to solving them, including hearing openly from all sides at all public forums (especially those using publicly paid venues and resources!). None of this happened! They want the cash (and forever--since this isn't a one-time assessment!), and "One M" will label you a Commie if you dare to ask for specifics!
From today's Patch:
City Owes Residents Details Behind Dire Budget Projections
Trust but verify shouldn't be so hard
By Jim Atkinson, Patch Poster | Jan 16, 2019 1:08 pm ET | Updated Jan 16, 2019 4:11 pm ET
Last week during the school committee meeting, the superintendent provided her first picture of what the 2020 school budget would look like with and without an override. I would like to add some context to these numbers. Over the past 5 years, the average school budgeted year over year increase has been 4.5% (3.8%, 3.5%, 2.8%, 8.1% and 4.2% from 2015 through 2019). Now, faced with an override on the ballot and a story to sell, we are told the 2020 budget will be a reduction of 1.4% from 2019. This is both laughable and predictable.
The reduction stems from two parts. First, suddenly the city can only provide a 2% increase to the schools despite managing to provide an over 3% average increase over the past three years. Second, it assumes a drastic reduction in School sourced revenues going from $4.9M to $3.9M. I have asked Superintendent Taymore and Business Manager Farrell for a simple itemization of this reduction twice so far without acknowledgement of my request. (Please note since my original post Ms. Farrell responded that such itemization did not yet exist.)
Over the next two months the proponents of the override will attempt to simply make their case based on these two scenarios. They are counting on you to take the doomsday scenario as gospel, but you owe it to yourself to dig in a little deeper and validate those numbers.
Ask how many negative assumptions are baked into these School and City figures and whether they make sense? Ask why there has never been an open Q&A with the Administration on either this or the last override? Ask why all we ever see from the city is stale Budget data, and not an up to date trend with Actuals, even when requested? Ask why they can explain what free cash is at a high level, but you have to dig it out of meeting docs to get the amounts? In short, all you're really asking to do is cut the cards, and I think for $550+ a year for life for you and your neighbors that's a reasonable request.
Gail Infurna needs to issue a formal response to the statements issued by Alderman Medeiros. If it is true that MM had to go to the Secretary of State to get information because it was denied, Gail should come clean. If the data being used to calculate $50 per month for the Override is 2 years old, then the average monthly increase will be much larger than $50 per month claimed by One Melrose. PDR is not expected to be a “magician” but he should be required to conduct a strategic long term financial plan and fiscal projections. The Melrose City Budget is in crisis exactly because Dolan, the BOA , City Solicitor and City Auditor played games, moved around money, covered for each other’s mistakes and incompetence and repeatedly lied to taxpayers. We are voting NO and are encouraging all our family, friends and neighbors to so the same.
Another thing officials promoting the solidity of their case could do: promise to allow Melrosians to vote on *underride* reversing the override in 5 years - that way, if people have reason to believe the actual effects of the override didn't match how it was sold, they have have a guaranteed opportunity to reconsider it. Most people are unaware that Prop 2-1/2 has an underride provision - IIRC, it's been used between 10-20 times in the Commonwealth over the past 30+ years.
Thanks to Mr. Atkinson for an excellent piece!