Easton’s $150 million public safety debt exclusion vote is Nov. 4

EASTON — Easton residents have an important decision in the upcoming election that could impact their property taxes for the next 30 years.

Earlier this week the proposed $150 million public safety complex won approval at a special Town Meeting. But the battle is not over yet.

There’s still one more vote to go that will decide the fate of the complex — a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion vote at the ballot box in a special election on Saturday, Nov. 4.

On Monday, Oct. 23, residents voted yes during a special Town Meeting for the funding for the new combined DPW facility, police and fire headquarters and fire substation, consolidating multiple outdated buildings, officials said. The measure passed in a secret ballot vote of 370 in favor and 118 against.

But the project will not move forward without also passing in the Nov 4. election.

How much will my taxes go up in Easton?

If the debt exclusion is approved, the property taxes on an average single family home, valued at $524,800, will increase by about $700 per year for the life of the 30-year debt.

For the average condominium, valued at $290,500, the annual increase would be about $400.

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What is wrong with the existing buildings?

“The existing Public Works, Police, and Fire (Lothrop Street) facilities are 50 to 70 years old, are too small to meet the needs of our departments and personnel, and do not meet modern accessibility, safety, and environmental codes. Furthermore, the essential systems and infrastructure at these facilities are past their useful life and are failing, requiring significant annual funding for repairs and maintenance,” Police Chief Keith Boone, Fire Chief Justin Alexander and Director of Public Works David Field said in a recent joint written statement.

What would the tax increase mean for seniors on a fixed income?

The special Town Meeting also approved on a voice vote authorizing the select board to petition the state legislature for a special law providing property tax relief to senior citizens on fixed incomes.

“The board here has been supportive of finding options for fixed income senior citizens. We thought it was the right thing to do, we understand any tax increase can be hard on folks on a fixed income,” Town Administrator Connor Read said.

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Who will qualify for the senior tax relief?

The eligibility guidelines for the proposed tax relief package piggy back on the state’s so-called “circuit breaker” senior income tax credit. So, who would be eligible for the Easton tax relief program?

  • You must be 65 older
  • The home must be owner-occupied
  • You must have owned a home and lived in Easton for at least 10 years
  • The home’s value can’t exceed the maximum value to qualify for the state’s circuit breaker credit, currently $912,000
  • Your income can’t exceed the maximum to qualify for the state’s circuit breaker tax credit, currently: $64,000 for a single individual who is not the head of a household; $80,000 for a head of household; and $96,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

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How much of a tax break would seniors get?

That hasn’t been determined yet. The Select Board would set the amount each year.

Would the senior tax break last for the whole 30 years of the tax increase?

No, per the special Town Meeting warrant article, it would only be in place for the first three years of the project.

When and where can I vote?

The debt exclusion special election will take place on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Oliver Ames High School, 100 Lothrop St.

Can I vote by mail?

Yes, no-excuse vote by mail is available for the election. But vote by mail applications must be received no later than Monday, Oct. 30.

All voter information, including registration status, can be found at easton.ma.us/vote.

Enterprise staff reporter  Alisha Saint-Ciel can be reached by email at stciela@gannett.com You can follow her on X formally known as Twitter at @alishaspeakss and Instagram at Alishaatv .


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