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Newton mayor calls for Proposition 2 1/2 override

Posted by Ralph Ranalli October 23, 2007 08:41 AM

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NEWTON

Mayor David B. Cohen called for a property tax increase through an override in his State of the City address last night, less than a year after voters approved construction of the most expensive high school in state history.

Cohen, who once insisted he would not ask for a tax hike to pay for the $155-million school, said an override is needed to pay for rising city expenses and improvements to public buildings. Cohen said his administration would calculate the cost of an override to taxpayers by Jan. 15, in time for a possible vote next spring.

"The choice before us is to make deep cuts in the level of services we are providing today or to raise the necessary revenue that will allow us to move forward," he said. "Now is the time to seek an operating override."

Judging from what has happened recently in other municipalities in Massachusetts, Cohen will have his work cut out for him. A majority of cities and towns across the state have rejected similar tax increases through overrides. In December, the Globe found that two-thirds of overrides in 2006 were rejected and that 2007 was on track to be the second-straight year in which more override requests failed than passed.

Newton voters approved an $11.5 million override that permanently raised city taxes in 2002. It won by 709 votes.

-- Megan Woolhouse

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