In a vote 202 to 155, Halifax rejected phase 2 of the 3 phase senior center project. The town approved phase 1 at their last town meeting to assess the current senior center and choose an architect. The building committee proposed to transfer $234,200 from available funds to pay for design costs for a new senior center on Plymouth Street. The town already completed the first phase, however community approval is needed again to continue with the project.
Chair of the Finance Committee Peter Beals explained that the committee does not recommend approval of the article simply because the community cannot afford a raise in their taxes, “The state of the economy has affected not only the world around us but Halifax itself. According to a report by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the unemployment figures across the state and compare them to our own town, we’ve been experiencing consistently higher unemployment than the state averages.”
The community seemed to have mixed emotions about building a new 6,600 square foot center.
One resident spoke in favor of the project which would cost taxpayers an additional $71 a year, “I’m a father of eleven year old twin daughters. I understand the financial challenge everyone in this room is facing but we are talking about $6 a month to take care of the people who created the foundation for this community, that’s a pack of cigarettes, that’s a Happy Meal, that’s a cup of large Dunkin Donuts coffee.”
However for most residents, including Gayla Troop, their decision came down to money, “I have social security and a part time job, I’m the only one that can pay this bill and I can’t afford it. That’s pure and simple the fact; I can’t afford it and I’ve lived here for 45 years and I would like to live in my home.”
The future of a new senior center or the current center in Halifax is unknown.