Susan Voss: Northampton faces revenue problem, not spending problem
To the editor:
Please consider joining me to vote yes June 25.
This spring, our mayor articulated clearly our city’s financial problem and a short-term solution to that problem.
Our fundamental problem is that the state of Massachusetts has considerably reduced its financial support of Northampton. To be specific, we would have received $35 million more over the past 10 years if the state had given us the same amount of money each year, instead of reducing our share. Our problem is not a spending problem; it is a revenue problem over which we have little control at the city level. Our only short-term solution to maintain the type of city we are proud to call home is to pass a property tax override that will cost the average homeowner about $235 a year. While this method of increased revenue is not ideal, it is the only mechanism under Massachusetts law than can be used to maintain our current level of services. Without it, our schools and police in particular will be cut substantially.
The proposed override is designed to keep our services essentially level for the next four years. It is a short-term solution. In the long term, we need to work at the state and federal levels to stabilize revenues from those sources. It is clear that the current situation of ever-declining support puts Northampton in an unsustainable position. In the meantime, I hope we come together to vote yes and keep our community one that remains an attractive and vital home.