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Hamilton OKs $420K School Budget 'Giveback,' $5 Million in Water System Improvements and Sidewalk Study

Hamilton Town Meeting voters approved a school budget number with a "giveback" on Saturday morning, in addition to several other measures.

Hamilton Town Meeting voters approved a school budget with a “giveback” to taxpayers of $420,000 on Saturday morning.

Hamilton’s share of that “giveback” is $286,000 and that was part of the budget number that voters supported while approving its $15.1 million share of the fiscal 2013 school budget.

School Committee Vice-Chairman Roger Kuebel said the “giveback” number has the OK from three of the School Committee members – Chairman Alexa McCloughan and Larry Swartz in addition to him. The full committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the .

Finance Committee Chairman John McWane said he brought the number to Town Meeting after "11th hour" negotiations with some members of the School Committee.

If approved by the School Committee, it would mean a reduction of Wenham’s share of the school budget by $134,000. Wenham Town Meeting of the of the School Committee’s budget.

The School Committee has also said that it will return to the towns any amount of money over 3 percent of the budget in its “excess and deficiency” account after state officials certify the money later this year.

Voters at Hamilton Town Meeting on Saturday in the auditorium at also approved using $350,000 of free cash – essentially a savings account that is a compilation of fund balance from the previous year – to go towards the fiscal 2013 budget, up from the original request for $300,000.

All of the other articles passed as proposed, including a measure to reverse a 2006 Town Meeting vote to sell

Voters also . For a complete wrapup of all the decisions and discussions during the four-hour long meeting, .

Transfers to cover the cost of the new trash and organics bins was approved without any discussion about the new trash program, .

A total of 286 voters checked in, according to Town Clerk Jane Wetson, which is 5.2 percent of the towns’ registered voters.

None of the votes were close enough to require a card count by the tellers. Moderator Bruce Ramsay was able to declare each vote final based on the audible “yeas” and “neas.”

A citizen’s petition to spend $19,000 on a study to create a bicycle and pedestrian path along Essex Street was also approved.

Other articles given voter approval included bonding $5 million to make water infrastructure improvements over the next few years and using $140,000 from the water fund to buy a new dumptruck and utility truck.

One of the most debated items was whether to spend $23,000 on aesthetic improvements in the downtown area, including new trees and planters. It was approved. Also, $50,000 was also approved to go towards sidewalk improvements.

The town election is May 25 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at . The only contested race of the ballot is for School Committee, where five candidates are seeking three open positions.

Anne Sweeney May 13, 2012 at 06:07 PM
A Drop in the bucket to be sure, great work guys !
Anne Sweeney May 13, 2012 at 06:46 PM
@Jim, If reason prevailed relative to savings, we would be back at $13-$14 per thousand tax rate. To impose a tax rate like this during a recession is tantamount to an economic dictatorship of which the end result is economic slavery. Perverse taxation is unpatriotic and theft from the people. The people need to march on Hamilton Town Hall and Roll back those rates to sensible levels. Then they need to cut, cut, and cut spending. You people don't get it, if we the people cannot afford our bills we lose our homes and our possesions. The same rule of law must be followed and adhered to by our representatives elected to manage our budgets. The Hamilton populace is comprised of a bunch of liberal milk toasts that will accept anything in the name of their children and they cower as scared school children when threatened by uncomfortable circumstances, hardship, or imposing austerity upon those who have come to the public trough and hoggishly taken entitlements well above what this community can afford.
Michelle Bailey May 14, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I would not call $5million a drop in the bucket. Every "drop in your bucket" is going to cost you a lot more. This tax will be hidden on your water bill!
Anne Sweeney May 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Yes Michelle, it's good to know that our little serfdom in Hamilton is alive and well. Which is why the shelves at Accord are always empty. As the old saying rings true, even today about the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. Our children graduate high school and Universities throughout our great Nation to enter a bleak job market. How peachy. $5 million might not be a drop in the bucket for you, but too many in this community, $5million represents a do over up country at the ski chalet, or a new kitchen in Florida. If we want to save real money, drop the tax rate per thousand down to $13-15 dollars, not $19.00. When communities pull a sneak attack like that, it's a no wonder we grow suspicious of town government. Let me put it to you this way Michelle, would you have the towns Fincom run your household or business or if they did and went into deficit spending, please tell me where you would find the money Michelle. Remember you have a fixed income the town has a variable income by proxy. If we kept the town at one number and made cuts to keep it that way, at some point we would reach the point of stabilization and a balanced budget. Greed motivates while common sense and wisdom is stifled in Hamilton and Wenham. But then again it never ends, because there are more people like you, who prefer the comfort of complacency over action or inaction as the case may be. In H/W having people like you, "popularity", is better than efficiency. Life is Good :-)

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