September 30, 2022

Selectmen Admit ‘Confusion’ Over Bristol-Plymouth Vote

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The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen said residents lacked a clear understanding of the vote on the Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School building project.

The board voted Tuesday to place a temporary tax increase, otherwise known as a debt exclusion, on the November ballot. The $305 million project was approved at a special election last March.

There were 3,353 "yes" votes in favor of a new building, while 3,047 voted "no." The total "yes" votes amounted to 52.4 percent of the vote.

The other member communities which voted include Berkley, Bridgewater, Dighton, Middleborough, Raynham, and Taunton. A majority vote was needed for approval.

In Rehoboth, the measure was rejected with 257 voting yes and 613 voting no.

The proposed debt exclusion, or temporary tax increase, to pay for the project was also rejected, with 403 voting yes and 465 voting no.

“I do know that there was considerable confusion the last time around as to what was being voted for,” Chairman Skip Vadnais said. “There was plenty of explanation and opportunity to educate oneself.”

“Our intent was to have it pass,” said Selectman George Solas. “There was confusion.”

The Massachusetts School Building Authority provided authorization for a Project Funding Agreement for the Bristol-Plymouth project last September. The agreement includes reimbursement of 62.25 percent of eligible project costs up to a maximum reimbursement amount of $125, 569, 759 toward construction of a modern Bristol-Plymouth school facility.

Selectman Michael Deignan said the cost to the town would be $550,000 for the first year. If the debt exclusion is not approved, the money would have to be taken from town services. Deignan said the $550,000 number would fluctuate every year depending on the number of students from Rehoboth attending Bristol-Plymouth.

The property tax increase will last 30 years, Deignan added.

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