I recently moved to Falmouth with my wife, Kate McCrann, who grew up here, and our two kids, ages 4 and 1. I can’t wait for the community center to happen.
There won’t be a tax increase of any kind to fund Question 1. It’ll cost $5.6 million over the next 4.5 years, but not a penny of that will come from higher taxes on existing properties. Instead, funding will come from three sources: $1.25 million that the library will raise from private gifts; the sale of three public properties, and $1.5 million from the town’s undesignated fund.
That’s it. No tax hikes. Not now, not later. In fact, the referendum language explicitly provides that if the money isn’t raised by 2015, the project won’t go forward.
What is this undesignated fund? It’s a surplus of over $10 million that has accrued from unexpended operating budgets and unanticipated excess revenues, almost like pocket change that goes into a jar at the end of every day. It’s governed by a policy that specifically authorizes spending the fund for one-time capital improvements.
Using the fund is nothing new; we’ve used it many times before, on everything from security cameras in the high school to buying property adjacent to the East Branch of the Piscataqua River. And each time we’ve used it, it’s been replenished through the town’s annual budgeting process and earnings on investments, not through raising taxes.
Let’s not miss out on this chance.