What are the needs and what are the wants of a community? We understand the desire by the Yarmouth Town Council and town manager to maintain a fixed or moderately higher tax rate each year. The result is a fixed pool of income from taxpayers, based on tax rate and property valuation. But if the municipal needs are great and the municipal budget must increase, that leaves a limited amount of money available for the School Department.
This year the municipal budget is in need of extra funding. Yarmouth has put off road repair and other essential improvements because it’s always the municipal budget that gets sacrificed in order to provide the School Department with money it asks for, and at the same time limit the tax rate. We’re being asked to bond (with its necessary interest costs) for road repairs that should have been completed annually and not postponed because the School Committee asked for more money.
It’s time the School Committee was told that they can’t have the funds they want this year, because the municipality needs those funds to operate and maintain the municipality of Yarmouth. This is the message that Yarmouth taxpayers need to send to the Town Council. Concentrate the school budget on important academic needs.
No, the council cannot tell the School Committee how to run the schools, but the council has the right and authority to limit the funds that taxpayers authorize at Town Meeting, and to make that recommendation to Yarmouth voters.