Pamela Schwartz: For now, override is only way to save services

Published: 2/14/2020 8:13:26 AM
Modified: 2/14/2020 8:13:14 AM

“Four years of fiscal stability.” That’s what our Mayor David Narkewicz promised us when we voted yes for the last Northampton override in 2013.

It’s 2020, seven years later. Narkewicz delivered way more than he promised. And he did so by stretching our tax dollars as far as they could go.

The facts of the matter are actually plain to see. If you haven’t been able to get to one of the mayor’s eight town halls (the last one is on Feb. 24), you can find a video of his presentation on the city’s website (search “Northampton override” and you’ll get there).

Or call the mayor’s office at 587-1249 with your questions. Ask and you will be answered. And you will be so impressed by the diligence, the transparency, the accessibility for all of us to understand precisely how we got here.

Paying more in taxes is not easy. And our mayor is the first to say protecting our seniors and others on fixed incomes is a highest priority, which is why the city has expanded the minimum age and maximum allowable exemptions for low-income seniors.

You can know the impact on your own bottom line by going to the tax calculator on the city’s website. Thankfully, there will be no surprises. The remaining question then becomes: is it worth it?

I hope you join me in answering yes. Because it’s what we need to do to take care of all we love about our community. Of course the work will continue for a change in the charter school funding formula so Northampton does not lose almost $2.5 million each year to charter schools, and we will work to pass the statewide “millionaire’s income tax” that will likely be on the ballot in 2022.

But right now, this year, we have only one way to preserve our services — to protect our schools, our libraries, our public safety, our green spaces — and that is with a yes vote on March 3. It’s worth it!

Pamela Schwartz

Northampton

The writer is a former Ward 4 city councilor.



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