The Norwell Advisory Board met Wednesday night to reconsider their vote to support a Proposition 2 ½ override, after selectmen announced that the property tax impact was much greater than originally anticipated.
The advisory board previously voted unanimously to support a $2.8 million override, assuming a property tax increase of about $550.00 a year.
However, selectmen revealed last week that the total tax impact of the override, with the usual 2 ½ percent annual increase, is actually over $900.00 a year for a median home, the result of a finance department miscalculation.
Some Advisory Board members like Ralph Gordon are upset about the glaring mistake, that was discovered just weeks before town meeting and the override election.
Gordon said, “It was a bit of a stretch, but we thought that clearly the need is there and that $550.00 is going to be difficult, but it’s something we need. Now we’re talking almost $900.00. That’s a big change. The point is, I don’t think we can just say, well we’ve shown there’s a need. I don’t disagree. But to sort of ignore the fact that there are taxpayers that are going to have to assume the cost of this, that’s a big number!”
Norwell’s Allison Demong had some strong words for the Selectmen and Town Administrator, on how to deal with the issue.
“My advice to the Town Administrator and Selectmen is to be a little more humble, as you go forward in explaining this problem. I find it outrageous that its three weeks before town meeting and this information is coming to light, causing all this chaos and confusion. I’d like to see a stronger stance on accountability and acknowledgement of the problem, instead of just explaining what happened”, Demong said.
The Advisory Board reconsidered the issues and voted 7 to 2, to support the override.