The Finance Committee discussed and voted on whether to support the Select Board’s vote to put a $7 million override on the November ballot. The Select Board made commitments for how the money would be allocated – $6 million to the schools and $1 million to the town. There was extensive debate among Finance Committee members. Some felt the override was needed to support the services and strategic plans of the schools and town. Others felt it would worsen the structural deficit and more fiscal restraint was needed. In the end, the Finance Committee voted 10-7 to support the Select Board’s override vote.
There was discussion about moving to an annual override vote rather than periodic large overrides. This would allow smaller adjustments each year based on economic conditions and avoid large “cliffs” when overrides failed. While no action was taken, there seemed to be interest in exploring this approach.
The group discussed the town’s finances, including the projected deficits in FY26-28, revenue growth assumptions, and the long-range financial plan. There were differing views on the severity of the deficits and whether enough was being done to address long-term fiscal sustainability.
School Strategic Plan
The school’s strategic plan and need for funding to retain staff and implement new programs was discussed. Some felt the plan was thoughtful and reasonable while others wanted more fiscal restraint.
Maintaining the level of town services expected by residents, such as public safety, trash pickup and infrastructure, was cited as a reason to support the override. The override would provide funding to sustain these services.
The same slate of officers was unanimously re-elected: Christine Deshler as Chair, and Darryl Harmer, Alan Jones and Annie LaCourt as Vice Chairs.