Published in the November 20, 2015 edition
MELROSE — In the days leading up to the November 3 vote to override Proposition 2 1/2 to help better manage the city’s schools and public safety service, the main support group for the passage of the ballot question certainly proved a formidable fundraising.
With eight days to go before the 2015 city election, Yes for Melrose had raised $10,965 and spent just over $6,000, compared to Melrose Taxpayers Alliance raising $2,350 and spending $1,401, according to each group’s campaign finance report filed with the city’s elections office.
There is another finance report due 30 days after the election.
Just about half of the money raised before the first filing deadline by the Taxpayers Alliance came in the form of $100 or $200 contributions.
Yes for Melrose’s contributors, for the most part, gave whatever they could. There are contributions of $25, $35, $50, all the way up to the nosebleed height of $1,000 for a local election effort.
Each group spent its money the same way but in vastly different amounts. Yes for Wakefield and the Melrose Taxpayers Alliance both paid for mailings and lawn signs and bumper stickers. It was the Taxpayers Alliance, however, that seemed to get much more bang for the buck.
To try to get an override passed in relative prosperity is a difficult thing to do, and supporters of the override — led by Mayor Robert J. Dolan — knew this going into November 3.
The request to go outside the restrictions of the property tax-limiting state law by $2.25 million each year for the foreseeable future lost in each of the city’s 14 voting precincts. The override lost 5,031 to 3,019.
One Yes for Melrose member — Jennifer McAndrew — said the day after the election: “You really have to give the electorate a compelling case to pass an override. A lot of people didn’t feel a sense of crisis in this one. Of course, I disagree; I believe it is necessary so we don’t have to come back looking for something like this in the future. However, this was not a ‘gun to the head’ override, and (Dolan) said that. The override was being asked for in fairly decent economic times. But we felt iut was a ‘let’s plan for the future’ request.”
She continued, “One positive outcome (of the override vote) is we’ve really started a conversation about how we are adequately going to fund our schools and plan for the future. I know that conversation has not ended.”
With eight days to go before the Nov. 3 city election, Yes for Melrose had a balance of $4,813 while the Melrose Taxpayers Alliance had $948.62 left in the till.