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Newton votes Tuesday on $11.4 million tax override

Posted by Deidre Fernandes  March 12, 2013 10:50 AM

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Newton voters will go to the polls Tuesday and decide whether to pass an $11.4 million annual tax increase package to pay for new schools, roads, fire department buildings and more teachers and police officers.

Polls will be open until 8 p.m. To find your polling place, go here.

The city hasn’t approved an override of Proposition 2 ½ in more than a decade, but Newton city and school officials have argued that more tax money is needed to rebuild crumbling facilities and deal with a growing student population.

The last major school construction project in the city was the new Newton North High School, which opened in 2010. The project’s costs skyrocketed and at $191.5 million, Newton North ranks as the most expensive school ever built in Massachusetts.

On Tuesday voters will face three ballot questions, two debt exclusions for tax increases that will last up to 30 years and a separate permanent tax hike.

The debt exclusions, which total about $3 million, will help pay for the new Angier and Cabot elementary schools. The permanent increase of $8.4 million would help to pay for a new Newton Centre Fire Station, an expansion of Zervas Elementary School, 51 new teachers and aides, road repairs and four new police officers.

If the tax increases are approved, the annual taxes on a median house in Newton would increase by $343 to $8,006.

Compared to override campaigns of 2002 and 2008, this year’s has been more subdued. Advocates for the override, Building Newton’s Future, had raised $60,400 through February 22, compared to $122,920 that was raised by supporters in 2008.

A small group of opponents started to rally in late January. They had not filed a campaign finance report as of last week.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.

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