To the editor:
June 20, you have a big decision to make on Question 1 — to override or to not. Marblehead is out of cash to just maintain the level of services we have now. We complain about the cost of deferred maintenance and the unmet needs of recreation and parks and cemetery.
Our town workers see the needs too. They are amazing for what they accomplish, given the resources available to them and the situations they sometimes put up with. Yet, once again, the message to them is to do with less, while we expect more.
It’s true we have a pretty safe town. Fire and police will still come for a 911 call if the override doesn’t pass. There’s always overtime, but that’s a short-sighted solution, as staff burn out and there are risks in running a few men down with little flexibility in staffing.
The School Department suffered the largest staffing cuts at 33, with no option for overtime there to pick up the slack, since obviously they run only one shift a day. Cutting staffing, when we are hoping to meet more special needs in the district and prevent costly out-of-town placements, is not really cost-effective. Cutting teachers or sports post-pandemic when we have significant student-learning loss and mental health needs, is not a wise decision. Letting schools fall behind also lowers property values — something to consider.
Our current tax rate is $10 per $1,000. Out of 34 cities and towns, we have one of the lowest tax rates in Essex County, near the bottom. It’s been 18 years since we had a Proposition 2 ½ override and of course costs have risen — look at your own health care and energy budget.
If we say we love the town, let’s vote like we mean it. Restore the cuts! Vote “yes” on Question 1.
Renee Ramirez Keaney and Bill Keaney