'A community decision': Tax hike fails, cuts to follow.

AuthorBoynton, Donna

Byline: Donna Boynton

NORTHBRIDGE -- In a reversal at the ballot, voters rejected a $3.2 million Proposition 21/2 override for the schools and the Fire Department, forcing the School Committee to make $800,000 in cuts and the Fire Department to continue to run one ambulance per shift.

Earlier this month, voters at town meeting had approved the override.

The override failed by a vote of 2,231 to 1,531. A total of 3,776 of the town's 10,349 registered voters -- or 36.5 percent -- participated in the annual election.

After the results announcement, town officials said they will have to work within the budget they have and honor the will of the voters.

"The process was completed. The question was put to the voters and they have spoken,'' said Selectman Charles Ampagoomian. "It is now up to the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee to go forward with today's results.

"This was a community decision. We have to take it for what it is and manage the town to the best of our ability. There is no extra money; there are no magic numbers.''

"The budget has already been balanced, and we will be moving forward with that,'' Town Manager Theodore Kozak said, adding that additional revenues from the override were not included in the fiscal 2015 budget passed at town meeting. The new budget year begins July 1.

"We will still try to provide the people with the best service we can,'' Fire Chief Gary Nestor said.

He said the town will continue to rely on mutual aid from neighboring communities when it receives multiple emergency calls. The additional firefighters would have allowed for four firefighters per shift and they would have been able to run both ambulances at the same time.


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