This is the season that our town officials start putting together the Town’s budget of the next fiscal year. As they wrestle with making expenses balance with revenues, citizens ask why we can’t have the improvements in services that we all would like to see. Why can’t we spend more money on beautifying the town? They ask how come our expenses are increasing faster than our revenues and why is revenue a problem?
The answer is simple, “State Aid”. Since Fy 2005 of all the six (6) towns in our Senate and Representative district, only Stoneham and Wakefield received less State Aid in FY 2014 than they did in 2005. Stoneham received $1,619,172 less while Wakefield received $814, 270 less according to the Mass Dept of Revenue. Who received the largest increases? The answer shouldn’t surprise you; Malden got an increase of $7,339,314 while Winchester’s increase was $3,823,903. Reading’s increase was $1,437,077.
The problem becomes greater when you add in the Stoneham’s assessment for the Voke School. That amount has increased by $545,423 or 135% over the same period. By contrast Stoneham’s school budget increased only 15%.
During the same time period, proposition 2 ½ plus new growth provided Stoneham with $11,159,969 in new revenue, however $2,219,400 had to be used make the loss in State Aid and the increase Voke assessment and could not be used for service improvement.
The data is clear, the people of Stoneham are being short changed, and our elected State representatives, care more about who can give them the most votes than what is in the best interest of Stoneham.
During this election year, when the State candidates ask for your support, ask them what are they going to do to insure that Stoneham gets its’ fair share.