Lexington: Join me in voting YES

I'll be voting YES tomorrow (December 4th) in support of a new Fire Station Headquarters, Hastings Elementary School, and Lexington Children's Place preschool. I hope you will join me.
  • It is well past time to replace the Fire Station Headquarters, built when Harry S. Truman was president (1947). Our modern fire equipment is too heavy for the fire station floor (something akin to the family game, Jenga, provides support under the floor and prevents its collapse). Our first responders need this modern equipment and spaces to train and optimally meet the emergency needs of our community.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower was president when the Hastings Elementary School was built (1955). Repair is no longer an option. The Town will be reimbursed $16.5 million dollars to replace it, if the debt exclusion vote passes. If we vote no, we jeopardize this reimbursement and also miss the opportunity to expand capacity at the elementary level (by 9 classrooms at this location). It is time to replace.
  • The Lexington Children's Place is a state-mandated program of the Lexington Public Schools that supports preschool children with special needs (ages 2.9 - 5) in an inclusive, least restrictive learning environment. Currently, it's operating near capacity in spaces separated by 600' and two parking lots. If we fail to unify this program and create new capacity, we will soon be forced to send our youngest, most vulnerable students out of district. Some of the placements can cost as much as $100,000 or more per student per year. If passed, this project will also help to alleviate our capacity issue at Harrington Elementary School, by opening up 4 additional classrooms there once the LCP is relocated to its new home.
The Town Manager's and Board of Selectman's goal is to minimize, as much as possible, the residential tax implications of completing these three projects. Their plan is to limit increases to an average increase of 0.5% over what is allowed by Proposition 2 1/2, or an average increase of 3% per year, total; not over and above a more "standard" annual increase of 2.5%. For a median-value home of $831,000, this would translate to a peak increase of $418 for these projects in 2024.

Lexington's paid professionals and volunteer boards and committees continually monitor the Town's capital assets with respect to the condition of our buildings and the evolving needs of the community. Together, these three projects represent the next phase of Lexington's comprehensive capital plan. With our school population growing at a rate of 2.5% per year, capital projects that increase our capacity have become a priority for the communitry. A new Hastings and free-standing LCP meaningfully address this need, yielding 11-13 additional classrooms. Both the Fire Station and Hastings are failing structurally. They need to be replaced.

You may have heard that we can do this work without taking on additional debt, that we can achieve these projects within the limitations of proposition 2 1/2. We cannot. All of the proposals forwarded by the opposition to this debt exclusion have been duly considered and either implemented to the degree that our Town could support, or rejected outright by the elected officials, volunteers, and staff who have been involved with the Town’s master planning efforts for the past decade. Attempting to pay for these projects within the levy will come at the sacrifice of other town services and programs and dramatically reduce the scope of these projects and their potential benefits, if they happen at all. Read this to more fully understand the flaws in the opposing side's arguments. More info is here.

I hope you're convinced of the merits of these projects and will make the commitment to vote to support them tomorrow, Monday, December 4th. We need at least 5,000 votes to see them funded. Please make sure yours is one of them.