Town Election: A Big ‘No’ On Override; School Committee Incumbents Swamped By Populist Pair

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.

Belmont Votes: 2021 Town Election

Photo: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The annual Belmont Town Election takes place on Tuesday, April 6.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Wear your mask/face covering, maintain at least six feet of distance and be patient as you wait your turn to vote.

Whose running for town-wide office and Town Meeting?

Click here for the Belmont League of Women 2021 Voters Guide for candidates and their campaign message.

Polling Places

For voting purposes, Belmont is divided into eight voting precincts, located as follows:

  • Precinct 1 – Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 2 – Belmont Town Hall, Selectmen’s Room, 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 3 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 4 – Daniel Butler School, Gymnasium, 90 White St.
  • Precinct 5 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 6 – Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct 7 – Burbank School, Gymnasium, 266 School St.
  • Precinct 8 – Winn Brook School, Gymnasium, 97 Waterhouse Rd. (Enter from Cross Street)

Please adhere to the posted parking restrictions and use caution to ensure the safety of pedestrians around the voting precincts.

Are You Registered to Vote in Belmont and Eligible to Vote April 6? 

If you are wondering if you are a registered voter and your voting precinct, go to the Town Clerk’s web page or phone the Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600.

Please be aware that April 6 is the second day for students of the Belmont elementary schools to return to school in person. Children will be excited to see their friends and arrival/departure patterns will still be new to them. Voters of Precincts 4, 7 and 8  at the Butler, Burbank and Winn Brook  are asked to consider avoiding the drop off and pick up times, 8:20 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. to 3 p.m.  allowing the students and their guardians space and time to perform the drop off or pick up. Please pay attention to the voter parking signs placed at each polling place and use them.

Letter To The Editor: Vote ‘Yes’ To Secure Our Shared Future

To the editor:

I’m a Belmont parent who likes clear and simple. For me, Tuesday’s override ballot question can be reworded simply: Do you support funding smaller classes for students?

After a long, hard year, my son goes back to school in-person full time on Monday. Finally. He will have 23 students in his class, less than five percent of his teacher’s divided time. Without the override, smaller classes are impossible, there will be fewer teachers, and no math coaches. The past year has been hard, hard, hard. I’m exhausted by the slow pace of return-to-normal, and how it has affected us all. Yet the forward looking question remains: do we support smaller classes for all our students in 2021 and beyond? I say YES.

As a member of our connected community, the override could also be worded as: Do you support hiring a social worker for the senior center?

I say YES. Without the override, our seniors get even less support. I will be a senior one day in Belmont.

I’m hopeful for our future, and want to invest in our community. I like running our streets and trails, being outdoors, and the smell of grasses and pine trees on Lone Tree Hill. The override might be rewritten as: Do you support finding more green infrastructure opportunities in our town?

I say YES. Without the override, we will underinvest in sustainable infrastructure and our shared outcomes.

In running every street in Belmont, I’ve unblocked storm drains, tripped on too many sidewalks, and carried home the trash I found along the way. You might read the override as: Do you support hiring more DPW workers to help maintain our community? How about Police, and Fire?

I say YES. Without the override, we will fall farther behind in essential maintenance and public safety resources.

Many of those most affected have no choice, and no voice. Our school children cannot vote for smaller classes and more teacher time. Our non-US citizen neighbors cannot vote. We can choose. They are counting on us to invest in our shared future. Please vote YES with me on Tuesday.

Matt Taylor, Edgemoor Road

A Request For Your Vote: Timothy Flood, School Committee

Photo: Tim Flood is running for school committee

The Belmontonian is providing candidates/campaigners of ballot questions in contested races the opportunity to make a request for votes in the final week of the election race.

My name is Timothy Flood and I am a candidate for the Belmont School Committee.  I currently serve as Co-Chair for the Belmont Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), a member of the Belmont Age Friendly Advisory Council, and previously a member of the Chenery Middle School PTO. I differentiate myself as a military veteran, a local small business owner, and a NO vote NOW on Question 1.

As a SEPAC chair, my goals are centered around advocating for all our students’ free appropriate public education (FAPE) and supporting their families as best I can. I am running for school committee to continue to be an outspoken advocate for providing necessary resources to support our students, particularly our special needs students. If elected, these students will finally have a voice at the table that has long been absent. As a School Committee member, I would strive to ensure all our students excel academically, emotionally and socially, and that they are taught in safe and caring environment, whether online or in-person. 

As parents, we know our children best and act as their teachers, advocates, and cheerleaders. I understand firsthand what it feels like to fight for my child’s education. Recently I was told “my child is benefitting from a ‘safety net’ of out of district services.” Yet, I fought for 13 years to get the school system to support my child’s basic educational needs, to allow equitable access to the curriculum as per FAPE and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). I do not want parents to feel as dejected and alone as I felt over the years simply trying to obtain my daughter’s basic rights. I do not want parents to have to fight to ensure their children receive the most basic supports. Public education is a promise of equal educational opportunity that allows all children to thrive.

My most successful professional and personal experiences are built on teamwork. Teamwork and diverse leadership experiences are the foundation for the good decision making that is needed on the School Committee. I appreciate open, thoughtful dialogue with varying viewpoints, even if critical.  I will make lines of communication with all parents my priority.  These conversations allow me to continue to learn, understand new perspectives, and make decisions that reflect our community. 

I am keenly aware that my opposition to the override on the ballot this April appears to put me in a contradictory position with my history of advocacy for special education students. Let me be clear, I do want to increase the school budget to better support all our students, as well as our teachers, and believe this is necessary for our future. However, I am genuinely concerned with the town-wide implications of the proposed override. As an example, at the November 19, 2019 School Finance Subcommittee meeting, $1.7 million was moved from the special education reserve allocation to help offset the town budget deficit to strengthen the town’s bond rating; the motion made and voted on without public comment. Replenishing this money in the school budget is included in the current override. I find it inexcusable that this kind of horse trading occurred, was swept under the rug, and that the town is now asking taxpayers to make up for their mismanagement while describing it as extra support for our schools. 

This override does not give additional funding to special education, it is merely asking taxpayers for what was already taken.  I have put in much time to research and understand the override and its benefits and drawbacks. This override effects our entire town, not only our schools. While I believe an override in necessary to correct the town and school’s financial course, this is simply not the right time and more work needs to be done to guarantee any override proposal truly supports the town.

Disagreements should not influence our unwavering support for our children’s education. I will work tirelessly and thoughtfully, to represent our entire educational community.  I am not afraid to ask hard questions, to speak out, while understanding the importance of listening. We need to be the leaders of today our children aspire to become tomorrow.  

Thank you for your support.

Timothy Flood, candidate for School Committee

A Request For Your Vote: Evelyn Gomez, School Committee

Photo: Evelyn Gomez is running to retain her seat on the Belmont School Committee:

The Belmontonian is providing candidates/campaigners of ballot questions in contested races the opportunity to make a request for votes in the final week of the election race.

I am running for the school committee because I believe that every child deserves an education that develops their full potential. I was appointed to the school committee last June during the most disruptive public health and education crisis we have seen in generations. These months have felt like a trial by fire, but I have emerged more committed than ever and armed with the experience necessary to move our school district forward. I am seeking election to my first full term on the school committee to continue the work of making our district more transparent, equitable, and innovative.   

Since my appointment last summer, I aimed to communicate with empathy and transparency to help families adjust to the ever-changing conditions of this crisis. I quickly recognized that communication during a crisis is critical and actively worked to open dialogue between the school committee and the community. These are the concrete actions I took to improve communication and transparency:

  1. I held open office hours. When I proposed to hold a series of school committee sponsored roundtables with families this summer, I was told that was outside of my official duties. Undeterred, I started offering open office hours as an individual, including listening sessions with students. Later, the school committee came to realize the benefit of these and adopted the practice after all.
  2. I pushed for systematic data-collection. I advocated for district wide surveys to form a more complete picture of what families actually wanted from their schools and what students needed, rather than guessing as to what those needs might be.
  3. I advocated for parent and student voices in our decision making processes. Our community has volunteered their time, skills, and resources to help the district navigate the challenges of the pandemic. In the Fall, I convened parents to help inform my decision making process around health metrics and transmission mitigation strategies, and provide insight into how the committee weighed their options. 

Family engagement has never been higher and I want to focus this energy into positive change for our schools. Given our increasingly diverse student population, we have the opportunity to be proactive, keep parent engagement high, and actively seek out the voices that are often left out of decision making. I acknowledge that my decisions had a direct impact on thousands of students and families across our community; I feel that weight every day. I am willing to learn from my mistakes. Without increased transparency, we erode trust and goodwill with the community we represent.

As the child of immigrants and an English Language Learner, I am uniquely positioned to bring about the changes our schools need. I will focus on improving the educational experiences and outcomes for all of our children, with a particular focus on providing equal access to opportunities for all students. 

This is why I spearheaded the creation of the school committee’s new Equity Subcommittee in my first three months, with the goal of dismantling the systems that deny access to opportunities for some students and to bring accountability to a school system that is currently not serving all students equitably. Our district will soon initiate a district-wide equity audit to closely examine the systems and decision points that lead to inequity in students’ access to opportunities. 

As an engineer, I am trained to solve problems and make data-driven decisions. I firmly believe that decision-making is an iterative process and am committed to revisiting decisions when new data is available. I am an innovative thinker and bring a refreshingly new set of insights to the challenges we face in our schools. Since my appointment, I have proven that I will not shy away from challenging the school committee and our administrators to think creatively when approaching the issues we face, or even take an entirely different approach when necessary. That’s the kind of thinking the school committee needs. It’s the kind of leadership our schools need.

I’m nothing if not unapologetically persistent and relentlessly driven to have a positive impact in our community. Visit to learn more about my candidacy. I hope you will join me in this fight and respectfully ask for your vote on April 6. 

Evelyn Gómez, Belmont School Committee, Carleton Road

Town Clerk’s Quick Tips For Belmont’s Election Day, Tuesday, April 6


Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman has written a list of “quick tips” for residents preparing to vote in the annual Town Election this Tuesday, April 6.

  • Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The polls are expected to be quite busy with in-person voters.
  • Wear your mask/face covering, maintain at least six feet of distance and be patient as you wait your turn to vote.
  • Election workers will be managing the lines to ensure adequate spacing of voters and workers within the polling place. Please dress appropriate for the weather; you may be asked to wait outside until it’s your turn.
  • Please note that some of the flow within the polling places has been changed to create one way traffic patterns. Follow signs and directions of election workers and Police officers and abide by the safety protocols.
  • Please be aware that April 6 is the second day for students of the Belmont elementary schools to return to school in person. Children will be excited to see their friends and arrival/departure patterns will still be new to them. Voters of Precincts 4, 7 and 8  at the Butler, Burbank and Winn Brook  are asked to consider avoiding the drop off and pick up times, 8:20 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. to 3 p.m.  allowing the students and their guardians space and time to perform the drop off or pick up. Please pay attention to the voter parking signs placed at each polling place and use them.

If you have any questions about your voting status, please feel  free to visit the State’s election resources page under the Voter Resources tab or contact the Belmont Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2603  or

A Request For Your Vote: Yes For Belmont, Ballot Question

Photo: Campaigners for the Yes for Belmont ballot question

The Belmontonian is providing candidates/campaigners of ballot questions in contested races the opportunity to make a request for votes in the final week of the election race.

Vote Yes on April 6. It’s up to us to support the future of Belmont.

For many of us in Belmont, the start of spring this month has come with a renewed sense of hope and optimism, as residents get vaccinated and schools begin to re-open more fully.

While there is good reason for all Belmontonians to feel hopeful about the future, we still have a lot of work ahead to heal our community, help Belmont bounce back from a tough year, and make sure Belmont is a place where all residents feel welcome and supported. 

On top of all this, our town is facing a looming fiscal crisis. Despite every effort to cut spending and increase revenue since 2015, what it costs to provide the basic minimum level of services continues to rise faster than our revenue. Even after assuming we spend down our cash reserves in a fiscally responsible way over three years, Belmont is still facing a $20 million deficit over the next three years.

We have a plan to address this looming crisis: Passing the override by voting Yes on April 6.

Supporting the override means we can address our structural deficit in a fiscally responsible way. It means we can preserve what we love about Belmont from our library programs to our parks and playgrounds. It means our students can return to school with the support they need and we can reduce Belmont’s notoriously large class sizes, which ballooned when more than 900 students enrolled in Belmont’s schools in the past 13 years.

Moreover, there is a cost to doing nothing. After the failed override of 2010, our roads and sidewalks fell apart and our high school students had classes replaced with “free periods.” If we don’t pass this override, we will face similar cuts beginning this summer; $3.45 million will be cut from our school and town budgets after depleting our cash reserves. That means a net loss of 21 school positions next year, erasing all the progress we’ve made since 2015 in reducing class sizes. It means reducing the budget for athletics, music, theater and the arts by 40 percent. These cuts and more will prolong the impact of the pandemic on our students, just when we’re all looking for a fresh start.

It also means cuts to the town services we all rely on every day. Our library will need to reduce hours, cut programs, and will be barely above the budget threshold it must meet to stay in the Minuteman Library Network. Our Department of Public Works will continue to plow the same number of streets, but with fewer resources, meaning delays for residents. Such cuts would be penny wise and pound foolish if they force our emergency response teams to rely on overtime rather than routine staffing to meet public safety needs. The cuts to our town services will impact the quality of life in Belmont for all of us.

Our structural deficit won’t be solved by one-time federal funds. The federal aid, while good for Belmont, is either restricted or is needed to pay for COVID expenses next year that were not included in the budget. Current estimates are that only $700,000 to $1.1 million of the federal aid could be used to cover our general operating expenses. That’s not nearly enough to address our $5.7 million deficit next year, let alone the $20 million gap over the next three years.  

And if we delay, our deficit will only continue to grow. A bigger deficit means we will need a bigger override in the future to keep the same services intact. It is more expensive to taxpayers if we wait. 

As we try to turn the page on a uniquely tough year, let’s join together as a community and take the steps needed to ensure our town can bounce back and face the challenges ahead of us on solid financial ground. Passing the override ensures we can preserve our town services, support our students and put Belmont on a fiscally responsible path for the future. It’s up to us to support the future of Belmont. It’s up to us to Vote Yes on April 6.

A Request For Your Vote: Jamal Saeh, School Committee

Photo: Jamal Saeh for School Committee (Saeh For Schools Facebook Page)

The Belmontonian is providing candidates/campaigners of ballot questions in contested races the opportunity to make a request for votes in the final week of the election race.

I am running for Belmont School Committee because I want to bring a sense of urgency to tackle challenges, bring disciplined data-driven decision making and leverage my experience with budgeting and long-term planning to help Belmont public schools support every student in reaching their potential. I believe my background and experience bring needed skills and diversity to the committee. 

I am an immigrant, son of a teacher. I moved to the US for education and to Belmont to provide my two boys with the best public education. I understand the path a good education provides, specifically to marginalized communities.  

I believe in the vision of Belmont Public Schools that all students are capable of learning at a high level and that it’s the duty of the SC to provide leadership and oversight to ensure that we maintain that promise. 

In the near term, we must deal with the fundamental challenge of operating schools during the pandemic. This requires science-based, data-driven decisions at the intersection of health, policy, and quality that must be done within a budget envelope. That’s my day-to-day job. I believe my professional experience adds a unique perspective to the SC. I am an executive at a pharmaceutical company. As a scientist and a leader, I am accountable for the research and clinical development of innovative medicines for cancer patients, and I do it with the requisite sense of urgency that cancer patients deserve 

I believe that good leaders identify and remove obstacles. In August, when it was clear that COVID testing could enable a safe return to in-person learning, I partnered with the community to offer solutions. I proposed a developmentally appropriate, cost-effective pooled testing proposal to the SC in September. It allowed us to get a baseline for all students and teachers and provide teachers with weekly testing and surveillance for the student population at all grades. It was ignored. Neighboring towns adopted it and operationalized it soon thereafter. The state implemented a similar program four months later. Belmont could have been a leader but chose not to act. Surveillance enabled schools to have data on the in-school transmission which enabled them to move to full in-person ahead of any Department of Elementary and Secondary Education mandate. As a member of the SC, I pledge to continue to collaborate with Belmont’s talented community to address new challenges and listen with authenticity to build creative solutions.  

It is also critical that mid and long-range planning be prioritized. With two new schools opening soon and a shift of fourth grade to the Chenery, a comprehensive plan needs to be in place to ensure these transitions are smooth for students and teachers. New opportunities will exist for 7-8 grade students when they are collocated with the high school, including access to the accelerated and collaborative curriculum. Clear budget decisions and oversight will be crucial in order to take advantage of these opportunities. I will work to ensure collaborative and stretch goals are in place, and outcomes routinely monitored.

I believe in greater transparency from the SC and School District. Transparency requires an open and honest decision-making process; it allows biases to be confronted and assumptions to be fully vetted. Transparency empowers the community and improves decisions and outcomes. Doing so rebuilds public trust, our biggest asset as leaders.

I pledge to protect excellence and equity for all students. I believe that we need to identify the causes of imbalance in access to parts of the Belmont Public School curriculum (e.g. uneven or ineffective communication with families; failure of earlier or prerequisite classes), confront and call out biases, revamp our curriculum where appropriate, and remedy the achievement gap.  I am encouraged that the Student Opportunity Act will more fully fund English Language Learner and Special Education programs and pledge to make sure the SC takes full advantage of this state program. I also believe that all students need to have the opportunity to find and pursue their passion. This means that we need to maintain or increase options in core and elective classes as well as extracurriculars that allow students to be sufficiently challenged in their areas of interest because it is then that they are really inspired and can learn and grow.

If elected on April 6th, I will bring my collaborative data-driven decision-making, and my focus on transparency and accountability to improve oversight and help keep BPS Belmont’s jewel in the crown.

Jamal Carlos Saeh, Watson Road, Precinct 1

Letter To The Editor: Donner’s Work on School Committee Is More Important Than Ever

Photo: Tara Donner is running for re-election to the School Committee

Belmont is blessed with an amazing abundance of candidates for the School Committee this year, but Tara Donner, who has served three years is a standout incumbent who deserves your vote.

Transparency and community outreach are so important for our community. Under the crush of hours and hours of meetings and decisions to make, it’s been difficult to get outreach right. But Tara has always been an advocate for outreach and was instrumental in launching “office hours” for the School Committee. She’s been a regular there – talking with frustrated parents, taking questions, investigating issues raised, and talking solutions. The School Committee needs so much more of this, but Tara is showing how to get the work done.

We’ve always struggled with diversity and inclusion in our school district. This is why Tara’s work in establishing the School Committee’s Equity Subcommittee is so important. Even while our students and families grow more diverse, our educators are mostly White. While we’ve begun work on the curriculum, it needs much more attention to ensure that inclusiveness and the full diversity of Belmont are honored and represented in our children’s education. We need so much more work on student outcomes, which tilt unfavorably against our Black and LatinX students. Tara has been there from the beginning pushing this work forward.

We have a well-educated community. But, historically, the School Committee has drawn from parents and other community members who do not know teaching as a profession. This is where Tara’s experience is both unique and extremely helpful. Tara is both a parent and an educator in Winchester. With this experience, she’s able to converse with parents about what’s happening in the classroom in a way that no one else can. She’s also able to offer a learned perspective when it comes to classroom solutions. This has only been made doubly important during the pandemic, as the School Committee has navigated many transitions from remote learning to hybrid, and now to full in-person learning. Tara knows how to get this work done.

Tara is someone with a deep knowledge of and passion for education. She has more integrity than just about anyone I know. She’s also about the most compassionate and caring individual that serves in an elected position in Belmont. As we continue marching towards normal in our schools, Tara Donner’s work is more important than ever. She deserves your vote.

Mike Crowley, School Committee, Town Meeting Member Precinct 8

Opinion: Come Together Belmont, Right Now

Photo: The cover of the Beatles album “Abbey Road”

By Mary Lewis

On April 5, Belmont’s elementary school children will have the opportunity to attend school in-person and full-time for the first time since March 12, 2020. Middle and high school students will follow later this spring. On May 3, Belmont Center will resume the outdoor dining it first launched due to COVID last year. And on June 23, the pool will reopen – albeit with some limitations on numbers. These are opportunities for us to come together, hopefully mostly vaccinated, as a community. There’s a lot to look forward to after an excruciatingly difficult year. I can’t wait to reconnect with people I’ve barely seen for months.

Here is what I don’t want to overhear at an outdoor table in the center or poolside: arguments about what sports should be cut from the middle and high schools, whether theater is more important than music or vice versa, and which days the library should cut hours, or why there is trash overflowing at Joey’s, Pequosette, and Grove Street Parks on the weekends. If this happens, it will mean that the override has not passed, and while other towns are busy bouncing back from a horrible year, we will be compounding our public health crisis with a fiscal one that further divides our town.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If we acknowledge that acting now saves taxpayers money. Belmont’s multi-year structural deficit will not magically disappear if we ignore it. In fact, it will just get bigger. And, as welcome as the news is of federal aid for our small businesses, renters, and others facing difficulty meeting housing costs, we must face the fact that regarding the other aid promised to the town, only a very small percentage will be unrestricted or not allocated for COVID-related expenses.   

If you put off painting your house because of sticker shock, you may have to replace rotting wood and paint your house – at much greater cost. We’re in the same situation with our town. Deferring maintenance and routine expenses makes things cost more, not less. Likewise, cutting first responders means paying overtime if those who are left are needed in an emergency. Failing to hire a procurement officer means we spend more, not less, on supplying our schools and town with the things they need to function, whether its road salt or school desks. Let’s not delude ourselves: as counterintuitive as it might seem, deferring a tax increase does not help our most vulnerable residents. It just makes our collective costs snowball, burdening us all more. Like a routine paint job before rot sets in, the override saves money in the long run.

This spring, let’s come together as a community again – finally – at school, in town center, at the pool, in our parks. And let’s come together as a community that assumes responsibility for maintaining and sustaining what we have before it falls apart.

Please join me in voting Yes on Question 1 on April 6.