Voters Approve Override for Schools
Voters in a special election on July 16 approved a Proposition 2 ½ override for $2.1 million in additional funding for the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional school budget for the next fiscal year. The vote was 2,236 in favor and 1,737 opposed. It was nearly a record turnout, with 46 percent, or 3,973 of the town’s registered voters going to the polls. School officials had warned that $3.5 million in cuts would be necessary if the tax increase was not approved. More than 80 layoff notices had been sent to teachers and staff. The layoff notices were rescinded after the override was approved. The school department had requested $17.9 million for next year’s budget, but the finance committee approved $15.8 million and town meeting agreed to schedule an override election for the $2.1 million difference.
Rehoboth Veterans Memorial Committee Dissolves
The Veterans Memorial Committee, which coordinated the construction of the Veterans Memorial on Redway Plain at the corner of Route 44/Winthrop Street and Bay State Road, has been dissolved, according to a Sun Chronicle article. Members of the committee were: Ken Abrams, Derek Rousseau, Ann Messenger, Jennifer Schwall and Ted Rowse. More than $150,000 in donations was raised for the project. The Memorial Committee was formed more than 12 years ago. The groundbreaking took place in October 2013 and the Memorial was dedicated in May 2015. Maintenance of the memorial will now be handled by the park commission, which oversees Redway Plain, and Veterans Service Officer Jake Kramer.
Rehoboth Police Awarded Traffic Safety Grant
The Rehoboth Police Department recently received a state grant to fund patrols to look out for distracted drivers and improve traffic safety over the summer. Officers will be on the streets to identify, stop and cite violators including those who are texting and driving. Rehoboth was one of 84 police departments to receive a grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. More than $375,000 in funds provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration was distributed.
Town Clerk Laura Schwall Honored at Unsung Heroines Celebration
Town Clerk Laura Schwall was honored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW) for her leadership and volunteer activities in the town, according to a Sun Chronicle article. She was recognized along with approx. 120 women from across the state at the annual Unsung Heroines celebration in Boston. Schwall is president of the Anawan Lions Club; a trustee of the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, a member of Rehoboth’s 375th Anniversary Committee and has served on the Town Events Committee for many years. Before being elected town clerk, she was an educator at Palmer River Elementary School for more than 10 years. Each year MCSW works with state legislators to identify women who make outstanding contributions to their communities. Schwall was nominated by state Rep. Steven Howitt. According to the MCSW website, “Unsung Heroines are women who don’t always make the news, but truly make the difference. They are women who use their time, talent, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods…”
Bill Would Allow Neighborhoods to Raise Money for Improvements
The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed a bill allowing cities and towns to create “community benefit districts” where property owners in a neighborhood could form a district and impose taxes to pay for additional services, improvements, events and project within the district. The districts would be run by a non-profit board that would raise money through fees. Supporters believe the program will help build local economies and provide funding for neighborhood improvements. Opponents say local government should handle these issues and it is an unnecessary additional tax on local businesses. The bill has passed in both the House and Senate and now goes to Gov. Charlie Baker for approval, according to a Sun Chronicle article. The Governor vetoed a similar bill last year.