Override Update: Feedback and Next Steps

As you know, I have announced that I will propose a Proposition 2 ½ override to go on the ballot in the spring. I am doing this because I think it is necessary for the city’s continued financial health, and I have asked you for your input on the question before we move forward.

We have now held two listening sessions, collected over 1,000 questionnaires, and had many comments submitted via e-mail. As we go into the next phase, I want to bring you up to date on what we have been hearing and what the next steps are.

Several messages came through loud and clear:

  • You want clarity about how the override monies will be used, including a long-term plan;
  • You want to know that we have done all we can to streamline city government;
  • Support for our schools is strong across the city—including among senior citizens and other residents who do not have children currently attending our schools;
  • Many of you, including parents who have children in the schools, are concerned about making sure your neighbors can continue to afford to live in Melrose;
  • You are concerned about teacher pay and that our current salary structure for teachers does not give them enough incentive to stay in Melrose;
  • You want to know what will happen if the override does not pass;
  • You asked that all the information we have posted so far be gathered on one web page, and we have done that: https://mayorinfurna.wordpress.com/budget-and-override-information/

I will continue to meet with my department heads to discuss the override question, and we are keeping all these points in mind. We will continue to communicate with you, and once the question is formulated we will lay out clearly what the money will be used for.

The next step is to prepare the question and send it to the Board of Aldermen. I hope to do that by the end of October or early November. If the Aldermen give their approval to put the question before voters, we will begin planning for a special election in the spring.

In the meantime, the channels of communication are still open. Please feel free to e-mail me at mayorsoffice@cityofmelrose.org or call my office at 781-979-4440 to let me know your thoughts and suggestions on this important issue. We will continue to communicate via the local papers and my blog, which is available at www.cityofmelrose.org and mayorinfurna.wordpress.com. If you want to get an e-mail every time I post on the blog, you can sign up at the wordpress site.