Over a year ago, did we know about these upcoming budget deficits when the library expansion vote was on the table?

When the library expansion project came before the Town, many of the challenges that we are currently facing were not known.  Over the course of the past year, we have experienced generational high inflation, renewing union contracts in this high inflation environment, extremely high health insurance claims by our employees, the knowledge that our solid waste vendor was not looking to renew their contract (traditionally, very low pricing), a bus contract renewal and special education tuitions that are dictated by the State and not the Town.   

The library project was authorized by a vote of what is known as a Debt Exclusion.  This funding is outside of proposition 2 ½ cannot be used or given to the operating budget.  The debt exclusion for the library will fall off the tax roll after the note has been paid off.  The override is a permanent tax increase.

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1. What is an Override?
2. The Town passed an override in 2017. Why are we being asked to pass another one?
3. What is the amount of the override and how will that impact my taxes?
4. How do we ensure we aren't back in the same place next year or the year after asking for another override?
5. Do these fiscal challenges affect Westford in particular or are there other towns in the same situation?
6. Over a year ago, did we know about these upcoming budget deficits when the library expansion vote was on the table?
7. Should we reconsider pursuing the Library Project during a challenging budgetary cycle?
8. What financial supports exist for fixed income or low socioeconomic households?