Poll: If the Bond Referendum Vote Took Place Today, How Would You Cast Your Ballot?
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24.
After months of arguing for and against the $16.9 million dollar bond referendum proposed by the Westfield Board of Education, the vote is just days away.
On Monday, Sept. 24, Westfield residents will head to the polls between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. to decide the fate of two separate multi-million dollar capital projects—district-wide roof repairs and a lighted turf field—bundled into one bond referendum.
Some residents have stated that they would have preferred to decide each project on its own merits. Taxpayers contrasted the roof repair – almost unanimously viewed as an urgent necessity – with a turf field that some felt was more of a luxury. Residents of the high school area expressed concern with potential nuisances spilling over and affecting their property. Others balked at the sheer size of a $16.9 million bond and the all-or-nothing stakes that attached the two projects.
The $16.9 million bond would increase the average assessed home’s annual tax bill by $45 in 2013-2014, according to a presentation given by Superintendent Margaret Dolan at the BOE meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Over the life of the bond, the average home’s tax bill is not expected to increase by more than $55 (including existing debt).
The roof replacement proposal has received strong approval for months, after the Board spent several years seeking to address the growing concern. In her presentation, Dolan said the average age of the district’s 10 school buildings is 73 years. Though the roofs of most of the buildings have lasted longer than their original lifespan, as Dolan said, “they’re old.” Should the bond be approved, $13.6 million will be allocated to replace the roofs of all district buildings during the summer of 2013, representing 77 percent of the district’s total roof surfaces.
Westfield schools athletic director Sandy Mamary has stated that the lighted turf field, with a $3.3 million price tag, is the district's response to the growing student population and that the maintenance of natural grass fields has become cost prohibitive.