Photo: Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman announcing Town Election results.
In the biggest – and far reaching – decision of the 2021 Belmont Town Election, voters defeated a Proposition 2 1/2 override by approximately 1,000 votes, 4,539 to 3,526; a repudiation of the three year $6.4 million fiscal package targeted to fill the growing structural deficit that has been haunting the town’s finances for more than a decade.
Tuesday’s night results – read from the Town Hall steps by Town Clerk Ellen Cushman at 9:35 p.m., Tuesday, April 6 – was just one of a number of results suggesting the populous was seeking change in how governance is conducted in the Town of Homes.
Roughly 47 percent of voters cast ballots – a total of 8,271 voting – which is slightly less than the 51 percent (8,607 votes) which participated in 2015, the last time Belmont went to the polls to decide an override.
For unofficial results, head over to the Town Clerk’s webpage and the 2021 election.
“Voters have clearly decided not to go forward with this override now but the problems that we face as a town are not going to go away,” said Nicole Dorn, who chaired the ‘Yes for Bemont’ campaign.
“We are disappointed, but most of all we are concerned about the future of Belmont. As both our elected leaders and the professionals who oversee our budget have indicated: Belmont residents should expect a tough few years ahead,” said Dorn.
In the crowded field for Belmont School Committee, a pair of populists – Meghan Moriarty and Jamal Saeh – handily defeated the two current members, Tara Donner and Evelyn Gomez, and challenger Tim Flood.
Running on a platform that first surfaced on a local Facebook page where parents believe children were not being served by the actions of the Belmont School Department during a world-wide pandemic, education consultant Moriarty (3,838 votes) and pharmaceutical executive Saeh (3,989) struck a nerve with a portion of residents who felt aggrieved by a perceived lack of movement by the district and School Committee in opening schools full-time.
With their defeat Tuesday, the school committee loses its only active teacher in Donner (1,995 votes) and with Gomez (2,355), a champion of advancing racial and cultural diversity in her single year on the committee.
In another surprise, first-time candidate Adrienne Allen defeated incumbent Stephen Fiore, current chair of the Belmont Board of Health, by a margin of 117 votes, 3,067 to 2,950.
Another office holder, the venerable candidate Tomi Olson was defeated by veteran campaigner Anne Mahon by nearly 950 votes for a five-year seat on the Belmont Housing Authority.
And Mark Paolillo will be back on the Select Board for his fourth three year term after winning unopposed.
Town Meeting Results
Some surprises on the Town Meeting front as two long-time members in Precinct 6 – Joel Semuels and Robert Reardon – the chair of the Board of Assessors – lost the 12th seat to first-timer Marie Warner, head of Citizens for a Fiscally Responsible Belmont, who managed the “No” campaign against the override.
Over in Precinct 3, newcomer A. Ayodeji Baptista impressively topped the ballot with 463 votes.
There will be three Town Meeting members who will be joining the approximately 300 member group via write-in ballots from Precinct 7.