BARRINGTON, RI – After a four hour long special finance town meeting, Barrington residents voted 590-349 to pass a motion allowing the town to increase taxes by more than 4% to fund a new middle school.
Lines were out the door and into the parking lot at Barrington high school after 907 residents showed up to cast their ballot.
The question on deck was whether they should have to increase their taxes by more than 4%, more than what residents expected.In November residents were told the cost would be capped at $68.4 million dollars.
The estimated impact of the project on Barrington's property tax rate is $1.12 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Many in favor of the increase argued that there is no price tag on a child's education. Superintendent Michael Messore told ABC6 Thursday that it is actually cheaper to build a new school than it is to repair the current one.
"I’m very much in support of it because we need it,” said Jackie Burns, a resident who went to vote.“The building is in pretty poor shape and they were going to have to do improvements on it anyway."
But those against the tax increase argued a budget is a budget, and the town should stick to it.
"Taxes are already way too high in this town and they just need to make decisions on what to spend their money on wisely,” Alex Rimoshytus told ABC6 News at the meeting.
During public comment, there was common ground.Many seemed to agree the middle school was in bad condition, and something needed to be done.On Tuesday, snow and rain exposed leaks in the roof.
Another town meeting is scheduled for May 24th to discuss the specifics of the tax increase.
The current construction schedule would allow students to occupy the new building at the beginning of the 2019 school year.