Whitman: Town Meeting votes for Prop. 2 1/2 override to fund FY2014 budgets

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Finance Committee Chairman Bill Capocci addressing Whitman Town Meeting

Whitman will hold town meeting for a second night, after voters spent Monday night discussing how it should fund the town’s annual school district assessment.

Whitman residents were busy for more than three hours last night debating how the town should pay its assessment for the school district.

Town meeting was asked to choose from two budget proposals.

One would make deep cuts to every town department to fund the school district inside the tax levy limit, while the second would place half of the district’s request inside the levy and rest would be part of a Proposition 2 ½ override. Fire Chief Tim Grenno voiced his concerns on the floor of town meeting.

“I’ll tell you right now, I can’t take anymore cuts, we’ve been for five years and it’s not going to go without affecting public safety, it’s that simple” Grenno told the 216 town meeting members in attendance.

School Committee member Fred Small also spoke at town meeting to make a case for the school district’s funding.

“It’s my understanding that we’re going to lose our librarians in the middle school, we’re going to be cutting music, we’re going to be cutting art and we’re not going to have the money to fund those programs,” Small explained. “That’s what the difference between the 3% and 6% is.”

After much debate, town meeting voted for the override budget proposal. Finance Committee Chairman Bill Capocci says the numbers will be different from last year, when the town approved an override.

“There was $440,000 last year  in an override last year for the schools, this year it’s going to be an $800,000 override for the schools and other budgets, so it will be a little more,” Capocci said. “If doesn’t pass, then the ball will be in the school’s court with what they want to do.”

The second night of Whitman Town meeting will begin at 7:30pm in the auditorium of Town Hall.

Residents attending Whitman Annual Town Meeting on Monday.

About Kevin Tocci