Preserving Milton’s financial stability: why a YES vote on Feb. 13 matters – Opinion
To the editor:
I urge readers to vote YES in the upcoming town referendum on the MBTA Article. Among my reasons for doing so is the price tag that accompanies a “no” vote. Some have claimed that the financial impact of voting “no” is limited to a small number of grants for which we would be ineligible. However, the consequences of voting “no” are not simply a nuisance to be dealt with or the price of living in an “oasis in a sea of cities,” but immense and felt by all residents of Milton, current and future.
By stating that discretionary funds will be withheld should Milton continue to defy the law, the Commonwealth has made it clear that the financial impact to the Town could be significant. Below are only some of the potential financial losses from discretionary funds for Milton if a “no” vote passes:
- Funding for road repairs, traffic calming, and general transportation improvements
- “Non-essential” school programs (athletics, arts, music, special education, before and after school programs) and school maintenance
- Parks and recreation budgets, including those for maintenance and upkeep, lighting, security, and camp programs
- Matching funds for school construction, renovation, and improvement projects
- Grants centered on sustainability and negating the effects of climate change
- Police and fire departments’ training and equipment funds, including those for ambulances, specialty training, and additional employees
- Monies earmarked for aiding healthcare facilities (Milton Hospital) in their challenging task of providing services
It is impossible to list all the areas which may be impacted because they are too numerous. It is not hyperbole to say that all Town services and departments would be potentially at risk were these funds withheld.
Additionally, we have already started to ring up charges associated with trying to remain non-compliant, including the special election costing Milton tens of thousands of dollars that were not budgeted for. Should the Commonwealth follow through on their commitment to bring legal action against the Town if it does not comply with the law, the costs will be even greater. This legal action would take the form of a civil rights violation lawsuit which would be costly from not only a legal battle aspect, but also the damage to Milton’s image that would occur.
In short, if this referendum is not passed, we all lose, no matter your feelings on the issue at hand. Vote YES on February 13th.
The author is the Building Commissioner and Zoning Enforcement Officer for the Town of Westwood. He lives in Milton and has two children at Pierce.