LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Longmeadow’s annual town election is underway. There’s only one question on this year’s ballot, and it asks voters whether to raise taxes for a new Department of Public Works building.
A ‘Yes’ vote on Question 1, would approve the necessary tax override to fund the project, allowing the town to purchase 12 acres of land at 170 Dwight Road, which they would turn into a new DPW facility.
The town’s current DPW is located at 31 Pondside Road.
The town manager wants to replace the more than 80-year-old facility, which he has said is “outdated,” and “too small for their equipment.” The proposal, however, isn’t cheap.
The land on Dwight Road would cost the town just over $2.6 million, while building and equipping the new facility would cost more than $18.6 million.
If residents vote ‘Yes’ on Tuesday’s ballot question, the average homeowner would see their annual property taxes increase about $200 dollars.
Matt Stevens of Longmeadow told 22News he doesn’t think the new facility is worth the price. “The taxes are definitely one of the issues for me, and there are other ways I think the money can be spent. Not to say that it’s not important, but I think there are some other things in town that are a bit more important right now, there are some other needs that we have,” he said.
Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane argues the town’s current DPW facility was built on a landfill over 80-years-ago, and can’t last much longer.
Longmeadow resident Lauren Shenks agrees, and believes the facility would be worth the investment. “I really want the DPW, because I think it’s really needed in this town, and what they have down there is not good,” she said.
If the question passes, the money would be taken from property taxes and water and sewer bills, which means non-profit entities would also contribute to the cost.
Crane provided the following examples of the financial impact of the question: for the owner of a house valued at $350,000, the tax impact would be $189 per year. The increase in water and sewer charges would be a combined $80 for a 160-unit water user.
The ballot question needs a majority to pass.
Voting began at the Longmeadow Community House, at 8:00 a.m., and polls will close at 8:00 p.m.