Newton Mayor David Cohen, during a budget presentation to the Board of Aldermen Monday night, distanced the city’s upcoming $12 million override vote from the Newton North High School project and his own popularity.
‘‘The referendum on me is scheduled for November 2009, not May 20, 2008,’’ Cohen said of the proposed override of Proposition 2 1/2. ‘‘This vote is much larger than the mayor. This vote is about the citizens of Newton, and whether we have the resolve to do what we must to keep our city as vibrant as it is today.’’
If the override fails, Cohen said the $5.7 million cut the school system would face would eliminate 79 positions, more than half of which are teachers; reduce the custodial staff by six; curtail music, drama, and athletic offerings; not allow the schools to replace obsolete technology or increase maintenance of school buildings; and cut the materials, supplies, and textbooks budget.
The $2.6 million cut the municipal government would face if the override fails would eliminate 40 positions. The Police Department would not fill 14 officer vacancies, reducing the number of officers by 10 percent. The library would close four branches and reduce Sunday hours. The senior center would also close on Saturdays, eliminate programs such as transportation to houses of worship, and limit medical appointments to a two-mile radius.
Cohen said the cuts would affect citizens ranging in age from ‘‘0 to 100 in the City of Newton. No neighborhood will be untouched, no constituency will be unharmed.’’
-- Rachana Rathi