TOWNSEND -- The financial future of Townsend is uncertain following Tuesday's Proposition 2 1/2 override election. While Townsend voted against the override by a vote of 1,372 voters to 1,102, it was the only one of the three towns in the North Middlesex School District not to pass the override to fund the school district's needs budget. That means, according to Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan, that the district funding is considered approved despite Townsend's vote, and the town must now find a way to come up with its portion, which totals $417,728.
Sheehan said the Board of Selectmen and he will be discussing plans to come up with the funding in the coming weeks.
"It's likely to result in potential significant changes to the way we do business in Townsend," said Sheehan. "It's not an insignificant number when you look at the whole budget and what you have available."
Right now, it's unclear where the money will be coming from, especially given other necessary expenses of the town, and that another Town Meeting will be necessary to discuss a new budget.
"You can't cut insurance, you can't cut health care, you can't get rid of debt service," said Sheehan. "The actual portion of the budget in which you can make meaningful changes is fairly small."
However, although Sheehan said he didn't want to speculate on the matter, it seems unlikely that the town would have another Proposition 2 1/2 override election.
"The voters have spoken twice
What the move forward entails, however, is unclear.
"It's going to take some time to work through this. It's going to take a while to figure out the best course of action to move forward in and have a budget that's balanced but also keep services that residents expect and continue expect," said Sheehan.