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Dedham, Sharon voters pass tax increases for new schools

Posted by Your Town  January 19, 2010 09:29 PM

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Voters in Dedham and Sharon approved multimillion dollar property tax hikes to pay for new schools today, while voters in Carver, Swampscott and Plymouth rejected tax increases.

School supporters in Dedham were euphoric as voters overwhelmingly approved two articles for a new Avery Elementary School in East Dedham and a remake of the Stone Park athletic complex at the high school next door.

Dedham voters agreed to pay the town's $12 million share of the $23 million school building by a margin of 6,231 to 4,105, meaning 59.9 percent of voters supported the new school. They also voted to pay $3.1 million for the new fields and turf, by a vote of 5,577 to 4,686, according to unofficial returns.

Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown got 55 percent of the vote in Dedham. Nearly 11,000 of the town's 16,000 registered voters turned out in heavy rain to make their wishes known, said Town Clerk Paul Munchbach.

People made a statement, Munchbach said, whether it was over the new school or a new senator: "They wanted change."

The new three-story, 61,000-square-foot school is to be built down the road on 5 acres near Pottery Lane. The state school building agency agreed to give Dedham an $11 million grant if the town pays the rest of the $23 million project.

In Sharon, meanwhile, voters approved a $20.9 million debt exclusion to renovate the middle school, with 4,214 in favor and 3,187 opposed.

Tax hikes were defeated in other communities, however.

In Swampscott, residents by a margin of 3,240 to 3,016 defeated a proposed $6.05 million debt exclusion to fund the construction of a new police station. Joseph Markarian, chairman of the Police Station Building Committee said he was disappointed with the outcome.

"I think the Brown campaign drew out many people who were not necessarily disposed to municipal spending," he said.

The plan had called for building the new 13,000 square foot station adjacent to a town sewage pumping station on Humphrey Street. The new building would have replaced the existing station on Burrill Street that town officials say is overcrowded and outmoded.

Carver voters, meanwhile, rejected a $600,000 debt exclusion to design a $40 million school, the second time it met with defeat, although the vote was far closer than last October's ballot results.

In Plymouth, Town Clerk Laurence Pizer said a question to increase the meals tax "lost huge." Voters overturned a previous vote of Plymouth's Town Meeting representatives to increase the local meals tax, with 3,684 in favor of the hike and 14,762 opposed.

Globe Correspondent John Laidler contributed to this report.

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