For many in Massachusetts and across the nation, Scott Brown’s January 19th victory is being widely hailed as a victory for anti-government, anti-tax crusaders. Brown won big in suburbia and Dedham was no exception (55 percent).
But on the same ballot, Dedham voters also voted by a higher margin (60 percent) to increase their property taxes. The reason voters chose to override the Proposition 2 ½ levy limit? Dedham chose to invest in their schools.
Dedham’s override will pay for a new school and athletic field. While some residents were apprehensive about the investment, others saw it as part of the town’s common interest, as Ruth Hamilton, 73, pointed out in the Dedham Transcript:
Hamilton said she thought many seniors voted against the Avery because they were “afraid their taxes will go up,” but did not fully comprehend what it meant.
“It protects us,” she said, noting that the town’s foundation is its schools. “If you don’t have good schools, people aren’t going to move in. This is a great victory.”
Voters often select candidates based on personality. On override, voters vote their values. In Dedham, the voters clearly value opportunity. They saw their investment as a way to create educational opportunities for their children and as an investment in the future of their town.
Town Administrator William Keegan summed it up: “People have become very civic-minded here, and they’re very interested in pushing the community forward, which is a great thing to see.”
Cross posted on ONE Massachusetts.