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LETTER: Vote 'No' On Question 1

Reader says the expense will create an "unnecessary bill for the taxpayers of this town."

To the Editor:

I am currently a junior at St. John’s Prep in Danvers and a future taxpayer.  I am urging my fellow citizens to vote “no” on ballot question one on April 14.

Like most people, I want what is best for my peers at Tewksbury Memorial High School. Quite frankly, this new athletic complex is not only costly, but an unnecessary bill for the taxpayers of this town.  As of June 30, 2011, the Tewksbury town debt was $151 million with an additional $61 million in interest.  Additionally, the already high cost of living is on the rise: gas and food prices have reached all-time heights along with the ever-increasing tax burden.

Granted, the high school project is supposed to come in under budget, but why not use the extra money to pay back the debt accumulated in the building of the school? Not to mention, the shelf life of a turf field is about seven years.  When that seven years is up, a new turf field has to be put in.  In reality, this complex is only a blackhole for hard earned tax dollars.  Turf fields have so much “damageability,” that the restrictions that have to be put in place just keep it in tact will not make this complex one for the “community.”

In closing, the hard-working taxpaying people of this town have had to foot the bill one too many times.  Whether it be a Senior Center, a Town Sewerage Fiasco, or even a brand new high school, this town just wants to keep on spending.  It needs to stop, so we can start alleviating this immense debt that will eventually be levied onto my generation. 

Finish Strong means finishing wrong.

Alec DiFruscia

Melissa Gleaton April 11, 2012 at 09:59 PM
ooooooh SNAP!
Bob April 12, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Its not a lot if you have a job or are not on a fixed income. But the increases over the last three years have been ridiculous, and that would be 32,000 cans a year rediculous.
Bee Free April 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM
i guess you are lucky that you can pay
jj April 12, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Maybe, with your irresponsible thinking, you will not have a community to buy all your new toys for... now, go ahead and donate all that you can, and more, to your new elementary school(s), a new fire station and any other project that improves Tewksbury! I think that is part of being in a community
Karyn April 12, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Our Town Moderator, Keith Rauseo has posted some great information he procured by asking specific questions of our Town officials regarding this proposal with the intention of providing the voting public with the latest information possible prior to the vote on Saturday. For an overview check it out at: http://tewksburyissues.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=10176 Keith provides a link from there to the questions asked and the (telling) answers given.
Eric braciska April 12, 2012 at 05:19 AM
A few facts in relation to Tewksbury's 2012 Tax Burden: 1) Out of 351 cities & towns in Massachusetts, Tewksbury had the highest property tax increase in the state for 2012 of 13%. This $600+ increase in my property tax, definitely hit my radar screen and am now asking myself are we getting value for that $ on top of my other local and state tax burden? Clearly time to do some window shopping. 2) After doing a local property tax analysis of the 40 surrounding towns/cities to Tewksbury, I learned Tewksbury now has the 11th highest tax rate ($14.93/$1k) of these 40 towns/cities which almost puts the town in the top quartile which includes towns like Groton, Topsfield, Stow, Westford, Boxborough, and Littleton. The towns of Reading, Lynnfield, Winchester, Andover, Middleton, North Andover, Marblehead, Georgetown, Newburyport, Ipswich, Groveland, Boxford, Essex, and Rowley to name a few now have a lower property tax rate than Tewksbury. With this additional $2 million in proposed debt, Tewksbury will most likely make it into the top 10 list of these 40 communities highest tax rates for 2013. This is not a list you want to be on top of and I'm sure there are other Tewksbury folks doing similar analyses. People have choices and when folks leave a community due to a high tax burden due to either perception or reality of not receiving value for that burden, everyone loses. I don't know how any group can ask anyone in town to add on more debt after this enormous increase.
Dan April 12, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Gave my opinion before, as to my No vote, and being in town over 50 years. My folks Still live here and are in their 80's now. On their fixed income every New I want adds to their having less. A lot of people in town hurting now, and if you believe that it's only going to be 20 bucks extra...I have a bridge at the end of Whipple I would like to sell you!!
Tewksbury2001 April 12, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Where is your data coming from? If you add in home values to this what does that tell you? If I picked up my house and dropped it in Andover my tax bill would be 3 times what I pay in Tewksbury, in Winchester it would be 4 times. So, maybe our "rate" is slightly higher, but the cash paid and ultimate tax bill is much lower on average.
Melissa Gleaton April 12, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Yes, it's called fighting for what you believe in.
Dirk Anderson April 12, 2012 at 07:54 PM
you cannot compare rates in Tewksbury to Lynnfield, Newburyport, North Andover and Georgetown. Their property values are so high so the rates can be lower and still take in much more than we do. I'm not saying our rates aren't too high, it's just not a good comparison. Wilmington and Billerica are better comps.
joe schmo April 13, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Two "NO" votes here for a useless inflated Field of Dreams.. we dont need another tax increase... i grew up playing on half grass half rock and sand filled fields.. we won many titles and recieved many cuts but made me stronger mentally and physically...not like the pussification of our youth now..mostly due to all you HELICOPTER parents. This town has jammed more usueless tax increases down my throat since i bought here 3 yrs ago... yet i still have to take detours around a so called bridge that no one owns... and pray that my house catches fire during buisness hours...All you buffoons who think your almost mediocre children will be the next barry sanders or mia hamm need a slap in the mouth...when reality finally sets in we will still have an over taxed town with the same red bonet antiquated corpses running this sh*$ show
luz April 13, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I like the to fart in church, so why am I going to pay for a tax incrise? Kind of like a pussification? idk
matt donovan April 15, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Alec, I don't know where you get off trying to talk about what its like to attend TMHS? You've never attended this school so everything you think you know about the school is bull. Just because you were the kid in tewksbury youth football that got his 6 required plays a game, and couldn't keep up with the real athletes doesn't mean you can put down what tewksbury athletics is trying to accomplish. Unlike some people who can afford to go to private highschool and have their parents pay for college some of us will hope for an athletic scholarship. The turf field can only improve the exposure for Tewksbury athletes.The field wasn't passed, but at least everyone who reads this will understand that you have no town pride. And for you Melissa, don't compare tewksbury to a town 30 miles away. Tewksbury is a special town especially when it comes to athletics. Something you clearly know nothing about. You couldn't spell tewksbury tough if I gave you all 14 letters. Your ignorance and unathleticism jumps off the page. So we might not have a turf field, but we'll still be successful because we fight through adversity and don't have everything handed to us in life like private school kids.
BusyMom April 15, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Matt - First reading your post, I felt disappointed that in presenting yourself as someone with town pride you then go on to insult others and attack them for making a choice different than you would have. I have spent countless hours supporting the children AND athletes of this town. I also know that scholarships are also awarded for academic achievement and not just sports. I myself voted no due to the lack of a real plan based on solid research and a clear schematic from a design firm. I have children who absolutely would have loved a fancier complex (vs. the new one that IS already in the works with the new HS). However, I voted based on data not emotion. And I don't believe it necessary to attack people who feel differently - we have votes to voice our opinion. It is not necessary to make it personal.
RunningGreen April 15, 2012 at 06:28 PM
First of all, calm down. Not getting a new athletic complex won't spell the end for TMHS athletes. A good athlete will get an athletic scholarship, regardless of whether they play on grass or turf. Secondly, why focus on athletics and not on academics? The academic quality of the schools are suffering (I'm a TMHS senior, whatever it's worth) and the age of the elementary schools will likely mean they have to be replaced soon. I believe those are bigger and more important issues than the athletic complex. Secondly, you shouldn't rely on name-calling or insults. Calling someone ignorant or not athletic (which really isn't that much of an insult, but I digress) simply because they don't agree with you is wrong. At least some of the students in favor of the project (I remember reading a well-written letter on the issue by a student) made their points without resorting to name-calling. So, for all involved, please be respectful.
matt donovan April 15, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I was attacked first when tmhs athletes were called drug addicts. So the way i see it i was only defending myself from other comments
Charmed April 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I agree with Matt on the fact that if you have not attended TMHS, you have no right to say how horrible it is or that new teachers are needed or the curriculum sucks. It's extremely disrespectful to the students and teachers there.
BusyMom April 15, 2012 at 07:05 PM
If you felt personally attacked, I'm sorry to hear that. However, your comments only serve to perpetuate a wrong. Why not stop any name-calling and just talk about your own feelings, opinion or experience? THAT would be something about which to have pride.
RunningGreen April 15, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I will agree with you that some of the previous commenters caused the discussion to degrade quickly. Most, and more likely all, of the athletes that I know are not involved in drugs and stuff.
BusyMom April 15, 2012 at 07:30 PM
It's sad that you continue to be on the attack and apparently to condone it. All Alec did was state his feelings without calling anyone names. Matt could certainly have done the same but chose to make it personal. And if you notice, RunningGreen is ALSO at TMHS yet did not feel the need to post by going on the attack. No one is expecting any high schooler to have answers to the town's problems. However, even a high schooler (and I've raised three so far) should have learned by now how to share an opinion without attacking someone else who possesses a different one.
Scot Sutherland April 15, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Shawn, if you are a product of Tewksbury's school system, you present an excellent argument for the emphasis on improving our academics. Your grammar is atrocious, and you show no ability to convey a coherent thought.
Alec DiFruscia April 15, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I think your poor grammar sums up TMHS. There's a reason that the highschool ranked 104 out of 135in the Greater Boston Area, and the reality is, truth hurts. For the record, I am a taxpayer: I pay income tax on my paychecks, meal tax, and sales tax. To say that I don't have a right to voice my opinion is absurd. This is America I can voice my opinion, and as long as I stick to the facts, you can take it or leave it. I do not appreciate the personal attacks and quite frankly, they were uncalled for. If you have a problem with me, or what I have to say, I will be more than happy to discuss my views with you man to man, not over Patch. I do, however, thank you for your feedback and understand our differences.
shawn donovan April 15, 2012 at 07:50 PM
i am not a product of tewksburys highschool school system if that puts your nose any higher in the air Tewks parent (<- great grammar).
RunningGreen April 15, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Before this gets out of hand, let's just go out and enjoy the good weather for the next few days. After that whole debate, it seems like a good time to head outside and enjoy the fresh air.
JA April 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM
This is a joke you go to private school and you have no pride. It will cost tax payers around $20 a year for the new complex. Your parents can afford to send you to private school, but don't want to spend the $20 for the loyal athletes of Tewksbury? Take a hike bro I didn't know this was st. Johns patch
Alec DiFruscia April 16, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I think there are more constructive ways to spend the left over money from the project, "bro." A new complex is reckless and unnecessary. I am just as much a citizen as you, and I have just as much right to my opinion. I really like how you can be confrontational and not state your name.
Adriana Brown April 16, 2012 at 12:46 AM
The saddest part is, you people fail to look at the bigger picture. You sit there and complain about all the problems we have, all the more important problems, without ANY attempt to fix them. Complaining without a solution or effort to find a solution is the worst thing you can do. If you're so concerned with something, do something about it, just as the FTCAC did about something they cared about. Each step to improve the town is only a LITTLE PIECE of the bigger picture- to improve Tewksbury, the experience of it's residents, and overall appeal and worth. Yes, this includes the library, senior center, police station, high school, and field. Don't be satisfied with what we've already done or we'll always be mediocre. Each project may not affect you directly, but the combined products of them will. If we are not willing to invest in each step together as a community, the town will never grow and prosper. Wake up people. Hopefully next time there is an attempt to improve an aspect of the community, you'll step up and take part in the town's progress.
TMHSGrad April 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Well said, Adriana. I am proud that we have fine young residents like you and Alec, who care about this town and its future, and are willing to take a stand for what you think is right.
Chris Kelly April 16, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Time for a reality check. Matt – your attacks on Alec validate my decision to vote no. Athletes at many schools are considered to be a privileged group and are more likely to engage in bullying at school. This issue weighed heavily on my mind since this is a real issue at most schools that prides athletic success. Your words lead me to believe that you are a bully. Most people are not blessed with athletic skills and have other redeeming qualities that make them great people. In addition, I did not see any mention of anyone outright calling TMHS athletes drug addicts like you claim. Alec – I would choose your words wisely when talking about the downfalls of TMHS. Commenting on the quality of TMHS as a private school student is going to make you a target. Although I respect your opinions, I would take a less aggressive approach since antagonism usually fails to work in corporate America. I am well aware of the institutional arrogance of St John’s Prep. I grew up on the North Shore and I attended Bishop Fenwick. Not every St. John’s Prep student goes on to be a success like the Prep would like you to believe. Many grads have been successful as advertised. However, I know several Prep grads who struggle at life both personally and professionally. I also know individuals who went to tech schools and public schools that have been successful. I truly believe that test scores, GPA's, and grad rates fail at 17 fail to indicate future success.
Marc DiFruscia April 16, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Chris well stated. I suggest we wrap this discussion up and move on. I am very impressed with the passion of the young men and women of Tewksbury, you are our future leaders. I would love to work with the Friends committee, the Patch and other local folks to organize a candidates Q/A geared for our younger folks before the Sept primaries. Not a debate, just an information session. I applaud Moderator Keith for all the information.

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