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7 thoughts on “Editors’ note #11”
Does anyone know why this borrowing vote only needs a majority and the borrowing for the school project required a 2/3 vote? In all my time in Town Meeting, borrowing required a 2/3 vote.
I think I found the answer:
In an email statement, the manager expanded, saying: “The Town Council – the Town’s Legislative body – voted on April 5, 2021, to authorize a borrowing for the renovation and expansion of the Jones Library by a 2/3 vote. Subsequently, the Town Council chose to place the question on the ballot under the terms allowed by the Town Charter to ask the voters at large to accept or reject its decision. It is a simple yes-or-no question with a simple majority required for passage.”
I couldn’t find a way to make a comment on Fact Check #11, so I’m putting it here. I find your explanation confusing. You take exception to a claim that “Voters are being asked to affirm borrowing of approximately $35.3 million for the Jones Library”. You then go on to say “It is unlikely that the Town Council will, in fact, borrow the entire amount, but the granting authority, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, requested that our Town Council authorize borrowing for the entire amount” As I read this, voters are indeed being asked to authorize the entire amount, $35.3 Million, and that while it’s likely we won’t have to borrow that amount, you don’t say how much is likely. Thus a voter could presume that there is a possibility the Town would have to borrow the entire amount and the vote on Tuesday, if passed, would allow that full amount to be borrowed. So, voters are actually voting on the entire amount, not the amount “likely” needed. When I buy a car, I know exactly how much I’m borrowing before I sign on the dotted line, not the likely amount.
Hi, Gerry, Sarah here. Awkward that there is no direct way to comment. I read the fine print of the order approved by Town Council – presented on the ballot – to *permit* borrowing of the full amount, but that we are highly unlikely to do so *in fact* because, as indicated, we have commitments from the MBLC, CPA, and the Trustees for significant fraction of the cost. The car is an imperfect analogy, but I would say we can be confident about the ultimate cost to the buyer. So voters should be more concerned about the net cost of the library than the theoretical borrowing limit.
Thank you Sarah. I agree that voters need to be concerned with the net cost. At the same time, we’re being asked to vote on a theoretical borrowing limit, not on the net cost. If I hadn’t already understood this, I’d still be confused. I don’t think the Fact Check will help people understand what’s going on and that could lead to defeat of the measure. I’m assuming a 2/3 vote is required?
Thank you. I agree with your policy of keeping campaigns positive where possible
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