Candidates For Selectmen Q and A, Part 4: If Tewksbury Received a $1 Million Windfall, How Should It Be Used?
Apr 05, 2019 12:03AM
By Bill Gilman
If Tewksbury suddenly received a windfall of $1 million with absolutely no strings attached, how should the town use that money?
This hypothetical question is interesting to consider, although 12 years experience as a selectman leads me to believe this won’t happen. (I’d say it’s as likely as my pitching a winning game for the Red Sox in the next World Series.)
If we had the hypothetical $1 million dollar windfall, my highest priority would be to cut property taxes by reducing the town’s excluded debt. In Fiscal Year 2020, that debt equates to roughly $8.9 million dollars in the budget. By reducing debt a million dollars, we could cut property taxes by roughly $75 on every average valued home on a one time basis. While I certainly would not turn down such a windfall, I don’t think we ever want to hope for or rely on one-time sources of revenue. We have worked hard to create a responsible and reliable system of budgeting. We need to stay true to this disciplined approach that has turned our finances around and earned high credit scores from rating agencies, which makes our future more secure.
Anne Marie Stronach
Simple. Develop a program to use the money to lower taxes for seniors, veterans, and disabled residents.
I’d propose to use it one of three ways: either to pay down the most expensive debt, create a senior tax relief buffer, or add it to the stabilization fund to help increase our reserves to the 3-5% of our operating budget which will move us toward a AAA bond rating. Improving our bond rating will enable us to refinance old debt and save millions of dollars in return.