Now if you happen to reside in a town in Massachusetts, there is a distinct possibility that somewhere on the agenda at your upcoming town meeting is a Proposition 2 1/2 override proposal, and no doubt it is the cause of much controversy. It is no different here in Andover where a proposed 2.5 million dollar override has the town in quite a tizzy. The school department has flat out said that if the override fails, they will have to eliminate the entire athletic program to make up for the shortfall.
With the situation allegedly so dire, one has to wonder why the Town of Andover saw fit to give the teachers a generous new contract, how on earth are they going to pay for it? Surely in these tough economic times the town shouldn’t be so quick hand out a lucrative contract to a group of employee’s who are already some of the best paid teachers in the state, right? Wouldn’t that make sense? Well, apparently the powers that be thought otherwise.
And those tough economic times? How tough are they really? It isn’t like government spending in Andover has increased ninety-two percent in ten years or anything. Wait a minute, you mean it has? But, that can’t be, Andover has been experiencing hard times these last few years, you mean the budget hasn’t been decreasing? No Johnny, it has been increasing every year, in fact if the override were to fail, Andover’s budget would still be nearly $138 million dollars. Not a bad chunk of change considering the town as less than 32,000 residents!
I consider myself a moderately liberal guy, if taxes need to be increased to help pay for services then I’m all for it, but when town leaders come groveling to the taxpayers because they were poor stewards of the town’s finances I’m sorry but before I’m going to vote for an increase in taxes, how about you stop spending the money on things it shouldn’t be spent on? Like awarding generous contracts to already generously compensated town employees. How about ending the ridiculous practice of buying back retirees leftover sick time, which can end up costing the town upwards of tens of thousands of dollars? The Andover Selectmen and School Committee haven’t done enough to convince me that we need another 2.5 million dollars in property taxes, and unless something dramatic happens between now and April 30th, I will certainly be voting against the override