To the editor:
On June 20, you have a big decision on Question 1 – to override or 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 unmet park and rec and cemetery needs. 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 do more with less, while we expect more.
It’s true we’re 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 of 33, with no option for overtime there to pick up the slack since 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 with significant student learning loss and mental health needs, is not a wise decision. Letting schools fall behind also lowers property values, which is something to consider.
Our current tax rate is $10 per thousand. 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 passed 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 1.
Renee Ramirez Keaney
Support for Smith