Just updating the BloggingBelmont community on the status of the vote in town today. As of 3:30, the race is neck and neck. We’re counting on a big influx of voters at the end of the day and hope it tips the scales in our favor, but every vote counts at this point. So if you haven’t made it to the polls, get out and vote now (and bring a friend/neighbor/stranger with you)!!
EDITOR’S NOTE: My original post listed the incorrect polling place for Precinct 3. Both Precincts 3 and 5 now vote at Trapelo Road Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Road!! If you live in Precinct 3, please note the correction.
After years of debate within town about the plight of the Wellington Elementary School, it all comes down to a town-wide vote today. Polls opened at 7:00 AM and will stay open until 8:00pm. It’s time to get out and vote for Belmont’s future. Go to the polls and please reach out and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same! If you didn’t get a chance to vote on your way to work, please make it a point to stop by your local polling place after you leave work.
Precinct locations are:
Precinct 1: Belmont Memorial Library, 336 Concord Ave.
Precinct 2: Selectmen’s Room at Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave.
Precinct 3: Trapelo Road Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Road
Precinct 4: Butler Elementary School Gym 90 White St.
Precinct 5: Trapelo Road Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Road
Precinct 6: Senior Center, 23 Oakley Road
Precinct 7: Burbank Elementary School Gym, 266 School St.
Precinct 8: Winn Brook Elementary School Gym, 97 Waterhouse Road
The debate within town has been respectful and serious. But the facts, and the voices within town, support this vote. As the Belmont Citizen Herald made clear in its excellent editorial last week, the “time to vote is now.” Among the many reasons filled the opinion pages at the paper in recent months:
- The existing building, parts of which date to 1918 is failing and will need to be replaced within the next decade. The State of Massachusetts is offering $12.4m in matching funds now for the Wellington. Should the Prop 2 1/2 override fail, that money will go to other towns and Belmont taxpayers will shoulder 100% of the cost of replacing the Wellington.
- The town and State have studied options for both repairing or replacing the existing structure. Both have concluded that the building was beyond repair. Further, the State determined that the Wellington was so in need of replacement that it put it at the top of its list of school building projects, State wide, to receive funding.
- The Wellington is Belmont’s most costly building to maintain, costing the same as the other three elementary schools combined. Much of that is money wasted as a result of inefficent heating and poor insulation — money that is poured down the drain. The architects designing a new building to replace it estimate utility and maintenance savings of around $80,000 per year with the new building – the equivalent of about 1.5 full time teachers.
- Belmont’s children deserve a safe, modern building to carry out the educational mission of this town and prepare them to compete in the 21st century.
- The costs, to taxpayers, are low: around $1 a day for the average, single family home in town, which is assessed at more than $700,000. If your house is assessed at a lower level, you’ll pay less.
Vote YES on Wellington!!
I meant to link to this article earlier in the week, but fell asleep at my keyboard after another marathon Town Meeting…or was it School Committee session. It’s all a blur now. In any case, David Sanger at the NYT did an interesting profile of the 31-Year-Old in Charge of Dismantling G.M. – turns out he’s a native son of our own Belmont, Brian Deese. Wondering if anyone remembers Brian? If he’s 31, he would have been BHS Class of ’96, I’m guessing? Just another name to add to the long, long list of Belmont notables who have done well for themselves. We’re less well represented inside the Beltway (and that’s D.C., gentlemen, D.C.) I count former CIA director John Deutsch and Henry Kissinger on Wikipedia’s Belmont entry, but not sure of the connection. Of course, Belmont was the home of the John Birch Society for three decades, so there may be some common ground there.
I’ve got to give a shout out to my good friend Martin Lamonica, an Arlington resident and star reporter covering the intersection of the environment and technology for CNET (now part of CBS). Martin’s an authority on things green and he and his lovely wife (and fellow journo) Elizabeth have done a substantial amount of work to reduce their carbon footprint — rainwater capture for the garden, beefed up insulation and solar, among other things.
Recently, CNET sent a film crew out to get his take on the big question of the day: should I install solar panels on my roof? Martin gives an excellent run down of the pros and cons in this short Web video. Check it out.