I urge the residents of Yarmouth to vote no on the proposed fiscal 2017 school budget that seeks a 5 percent increase. Simply put, the superintendent is seeking too great of an increase given this economic environment. It places too great a financial strain on our most vulnerable residents: those seniors on fixed limited incomes, who already have difficulty meeting expenses.
The Consumer Price Index over the last three years has, on average, increased only 1.1 percent. During the past two years, seniors have received no Social Security benefit increases. Added to that, Yarmouth recently implemented a $350 annual town sewer fee (on average), a new transfer station fee, and, the town is reassessing property valuations this spring that will undoubtedly increase property taxes for homeowners. All of these factors add up to one thing for seniors on fixed incomes: financial disaster.
The proposed 5 percent increase, on top of a 4 percent increase this year, is improper. Even Cape Elizabeth has proposed only a 3.2 percent school budget increase, and did so only after its town councilors rejected the superintendent’s proposed budget and had her reduce it by $181,000. Yarmouth’s Town Council should have made the same recommendation to our superintendent, but unfortunately, chose not to do so.
The proposed budget increase is simply too great for our senior citizens and I urge residents to reject it.