Finance Board Chairman Frank Remley believes residents “have been cultured into having the town drain reserves to meet ongoing funding needs.” That — along with a natural resistance to taxes in general and a lack of awareness by the average voter about the complexities of municipal finance law — help to explain Tuesday’s result, he said.
Since fiscal year 2011, the police budget has sustained $240,200 in cuts and funding for fire services has been reduced by $86,463. During that time, the Public Works Department lost $172,488 and the library is down $42,595, Remley said.
The override would have added $100,000 back into the Police Department’s salary and wages account, a combined $100,000 into the Newbury and Byfield firefighter wages and protection flat rates, $29,000 for public works salaries and wages and $34,000 for salaries and wages at the public library.
Remley said he hopes that “the more we engage the public and present the business case, the more folks will hopefully understand the challenges in operating the town as an ongoing entity and that it is there to serve community needs.”