Karen Foster: Override in the ‘best interest of all of us’

Published: 2/25/2020 3:27:45 PM

Every day that I drop my second grade son off for school at Bridge Street, his classroom education support professional greets him outside with a warm smile, a hug, and a quip or a story. It’s a kind and sweet way to begin each morning.

When I think about the kind of community we have in Northampton, it’s one where all of our lives are touched by the work of our city’s employees. From the Department of Public Works crews who weed whack, by hand, around each individual grave in our city’s cemeteries to the firefighters, ambulance crews, and police officers ready to step in to offer assistance when called. It’s our librarians working to archive local history and help us find the perfect book.

Though Proposition 2½ restricts us from raising revenue from property taxes by more than 2.5% each year, the costs associated with staffing our city departments and many other fixed costs increase at a higher rate. For example, over the past 10 years, our worker’s compensation insurance premiums have increased an average of 16.8%, while payroll taxes have increased an average of 6.18%.

Improving affordability in Northampton is an issue close to my heart. I moved away from Northampton to nearby communities for 10 years for more affordable housing before moving back in time for our older son to begin elementary school. I understand that a property tax increase will be difficult for many to absorb. Yet, I hope you will join me in voting “yes” because with the budget information I have seen, I believe it is in the best interest of all of us in Northampton at this time. The work on this issue for your municipal leaders does not stop with passing this override. We will advocate to address the funding challenges at the state level, including the more than $2 million annual shortfall in charter school tuition reimbursements.

Please reach out to your city councilor or the mayor’s office if you have questions about the proposed override, and please join me in voting “yes” on March 3.

Karen Foster

Northampton

The writer represents Ward 2 on the City Council.



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