Videos: Watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uXTdFu3R2I the 1-hour long LexMedia TV debate between the NO and YES campaigns moderated by Jim Shaw of the Colonial Times on Nov 17, 2017 (you can also watch the debate on cable TV at these times) and at https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/c0gKv9ZUF0uiidDafFfESDZA5EkkJp7L/media/308495 the Dec 1st League of Women Voters’ First Friday conversation at Cary library between the NO and YES campaigns.

Lexington Patch (Dec 5, 2017): Lessons from Lexington's December 4, 2017 debt exclusion vote With a turnout of just 28% and heavy use of all school PTAs' email lists by the YES campaign, NOs won 1 more percentage point than last year

Lexington Minuteman (Dec 4, 2017): Lexington backs fire station, schools in debt exclusion vote

Lexington Patch (Nov 30, 2017): This Monday, Dec. 4, vote NO NO NO to an unnecessary tax increase The new Hastings and Fire Station can be funded by savings the Town has refused to look into until now: no extra +3% tax increase is needed

Lexington Patch (Nov 24, 2017): Bravo, the YES campaign now sees Lexington can save more money! But its "Scare-The-Voters" message avoids discussing our NO campaign's constructive ways to avoid the unnecessary Dec 4 +3% tax increase

NO and YES letters in the Lexington Minuteman’s Nov 23 edition are online here.
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Lexington Minuteman 11/16/17 front-page story Does Lexington have to raise taxes to pay for new schools, fire station?

NO and YES letters
in the Lexington Minuteman’s Nov 16 edition are online here.

NO and YES Guest commentaries in the Lexington Minuteman’s Nov 16 edition are online here.
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The NO Guest Commentary just above appeared in the Nov 16 issue of the Lexington Minuteman and is online here.
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Lexington Patch (Nov 14, 2017): Vote NO on Dec 4: we can do all 3 projects without a tax increase Lexington debt exclusion vote Hastings school fire station pre-school Children's Center

boston globe

The Argument: Should Lexington voters approve the debt exclusions to fund building projects?

Boston Globe West Section Nov 12, 2017


Patrick Mehr, Chair, Committee for Financial Responsibility in Lexington

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Patrick Mehr

The Dec. 4 vote is about how to fund three projects — a new Hastings school, a fire station, and a pre-school — costing $85.7 million.

We all want these projects built. The question is how to fund them.

The ballot questions ask, “Shall the Town of Lexington be allowed to exempt from the provisions of [Proposition 2½] . . . the amounts required to pay for the bonds issued in order to pay costs . . . ” for the projects.

The answer is “No” because these projects can be paid for within the town’s current budget, without raising taxes.

If voters say “Yes,” the town will collect $6 million more annually in taxes to repay the debt. We calculate a typical house ($831,000 assessment) will pay $350-$490, or about 3 percent more in annual taxes. (Our figures, based on data presented to Town Meeting, are detailed at
Lexvote.org. They differ from the town’s projections).

If voters say “No,” the town can fund these projects without a tax increase, by saving $6.5 million annually, as follows:

Reassign just 3.2 percent of our elementary students, while staying within current classroom guidelines. We estimate this saves $2 million and frees up 16 classroom spaces to accommodate rising enrollments.

Raise our employees’ salaries and reduce the town’s 85 percent contribution to health premiums to keep total compensation intact. Our married employees will have an incentive to subscribe to a plan from their spouse’s employer. We estimate this saves the town $2.5 million.

Convince the state or communities sending us METCO students to cover the $2 million we estimate the program costs Lexington taxpayers.

Additionally, Lexington can raise more money by assessing large commercial properties at full market value (many are now vastly under-assessed) and cut taxes on small homes (where seniors and people with limited incomes tend to live) with a “residential exemption.”

Now is the time to fund projects creatively without tax increases, especially in light of the looming need to fund a major high school renovation. It’s not too late to implement these measures, ignored by the Town for too long: Vote “No” so the Town funds these projects without a 3 percent tax increase.

(For more on the Committee for Financial Responsibility in Lexington’s position on the projects and their cost, go to Lexvote.org.)


Kathleen Lenihan, Co-chair, YES for Lexington campaign

Kathleen Lenihan

Lexington voters are being asked to move forward with three essential capital projects: a new Hastings Elementary School, a new fire station headquarters, and a new Lexington Children’s Place (our town pre-school). All of these buildings are over 60 years old, have outlived their useful life, and are critically important to our town. I strongly urge voters to support the ballot questions.

Our fire station headquarters, built in 1947, was designed for a town of 14,500 people and about 650 responses per year. Today, it serves over 32,000 residents requiring more than 3,600 responses annually. Seventy years ago, fire trucks were half the size and weight of modern vehicles, making parking and storage extremely tight in the current building. Over time, the heavier equipment caused structural failings of the apparatus floor, which is now supported by temporary cribbing.

Built in 1955, Hastings Elementary School does not meet modern school building codes. It, too, has experienced structural problems, and students attend a school without a sprinkler system. The building’s degree of deterioration qualified it for $16.5 million in reimbursements from the state, which would reduce replacement costs from $65.3 million to $48.8 million. A “no” vote would mean rejecting this aid
[Note by the NO campaign: this assertion (or political scare tactic?) is unfounded: the Selectmen can ensure that we will receive the $16.5 million MSBA grant if the Hastings question fails on December 4 by scheduling a Special Town Meeting before December 21 (120 days after the grant was awarded) to authorize the Hastings project on a non-exempt basis], and the town would be responsible for costly upgrades to simply bring the building to code. We would also forgo an important opportunity to add much-needed capacity to our over-crowded district.

Lexington Children’s Place is our state-mandated, integrated preschool, serving children who qualify for special education services alongside “typically developing” peers. It has been moved 14 times since 1997 and has now outgrown its current space. Since 2015, the preschool has been split between two buildings — separated by 600 feet across two parking lots — creating unsafe conditions for our most vulnerable students and programmatic inefficiencies.

These projects are the result of years of careful planning by town officials, both professional and volunteer. They will result in an increase in annual taxes that will rise to a maximum of $418 for a median home in fiscal 2024 before declining after that. We understand this is a significant ask of voters, but we can no longer delay these essential investments in our town infrastructure.

(For more on YES for Lexington’s take on the projects and the efforts of the town to provide sound fiscal management, visit www.yes4lex.org.)


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The following story is also here
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Watch here on your computer a 45-minute debate between the NO and the YES campaigns before the 2016 debt exclusion referendum, held at LexMedia and moderated by the Editor of the Lexington Minuteman.