Southampton Town Meeting OKs vote on $718K override

  • Norris School Principal Aliza Pluta exchanges high-fives with fifth graders Valerie West, Katie Kennedy and Albeen Verdokhlebovka embarking on National Walk to School Day, Oct. 2, 2019. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/KEVING GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 6/14/2021 8:20:09 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — A $718,467 override to fund regular municipal expenditures will go up for a townwide vote June 22 following Town Meeting approval Sunday.

School officials and Town Administrator Ed Gibson say that the override is needed to stave off cuts to various town departments, and would primarily affect Norris Elementary School. Without the override, the School Committee has said it would need to eliminate or reduce several key positions at the school, in addition to cutting back on supplies and utilities.

With the override, the town’s proposed budget would be around $19 million, presenting a 7% increase over the current fiscal year’s budget.

The override will not go into effect without voter approval next week. If passed, it would increase the town’s current tax rate by $0.88 to $16.85 per $1,000, adding $287 to the tax bill on the average residential property assessed at $325,958.

If the override does not pass, the schools would lay off a full-time reading interventionist and full-time paraprofessional, said School Committee Chairman Jon Lumbra. Among other changes, the cuts would also reduce a music teacher position to one day a week; reduce the hours of two school nurses and a school psychologist by one half-day per week; reduce a planned full-time math interventionist position to a part-time role; and reduce an assistant principal position by 25 days.

The schools would also need to reduce curriculum supplies by $10,000 and reduce utility expenses by $40,000.

The school would have a total budget of $5.4 million with the override, or $4.8 million without the override. 

The override also would provide funding for general government, public safety, public works, health and human services, culture and recreation, employee benefits and debt service.

Voters approved each department’s funding individually at the meeting, but will vote to pass or reject the override as a whole at the town election.

Voters also passed two other, smaller debt-exclusion overrides: one for a dump truck acquisition, and another to expand a bicycle and pedestrian trail. These overrides would increase tax rates by 0.05% and 0.04% per $1,000 of property value, respectively, resulting in an increase of around $16 for each of these overrides for the average homeowner, according to town officials.

Other articles

Voters at Sunday’s Town Meeting, held at Labrie Field and postponed from Saturday because of rain that morning, passed 38 of the 42 articles on the warrant. Two articles failed, and two others had a motion to take no action.

The first article that failed would have redesignated two residential parcels on College Highway, which are currently assessed to American Dream Realty, as commercial properties. The other article that failed was a citizens petition that would have provided funding for a $6,720 raise for the town clerk, and a $7,349 raise for the town treasurer/collector.

One article that received a motion to take no action would have directed the town to hear presentations of state certificates, and the other would have updated language in a bylaw regarding local license or permit issuance restrictions.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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