There are three weeks to go in the campaign. The following is a copy of a letter we sent to our YES for Belmont supporters updating them on the campaign’s progress. Take a moment to read it and please share it with your friends!
|The Facts on Federal Funds|
Three Weeks to Go, Absentee Voting Begins!
Friday Debate Recap
Join a Zoom Information Session
|Letters of Support Pour In|
A Busy Week Ahead
Get your lawn sign!
Spread the Word about Y4B!
The Facts On Federal Funds
The passage of the Biden Administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan is great news for state- and local governments across the country. Bay State communities, including Belmont, are sure to benefit from an influx of federal funds in 2021 to help address the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic this past year.
Unfortunately, the “NO Override” camp has seized on the stimulus to argue that an override is no longer needed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. One-time federal funds do little to change Belmont’s structural budget deficit. As outlined by Belmont’s Financial Task Force, the town’s total deficit over three years is $19.7M – even after spending down our current cash reserves. That figure is far above any aid Belmont is likely to receive this year as part of the federal relief funds.
Also, the federal stimulus money comes with restrictions on how it can be used. Funds are earmarked for expenses related to COVID recovery, including making up for any lost revenue due to COVID; providing assistance to households and small businesses; compensating essential workers; and investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure. Any money that is not restricted will be needed to cover COVID-related expenses for our schools and our town next year.
We still need this override now. Every year we delay only makes our structural deficit worse, resulting in a larger override and costing taxpayers more money. Interested in learning more? Check out our Fact Sheet on ARP Act Funding here.
Three weeks to go. Absentee voting begins!
Absentee voting has already begun in Belmont. If you haven’t requested your absentee ballot, it is not too late to do so. Absentee ballots are available to virtually any Belmont voter for many reasons, including any person taking precautions about COVID-19. Our Town Clerk, Ellen O’Brien Cushman, is encouraging all voters to vote by mail as it is the safest method of voting. To request your absentee ballot:
- Go to tinyurl.com/belmontvote and print out the absentee ballot application. Fill out the form to request your ballot. (You will need one form for every eligible voter in your household, but one person can sign all the requests)
- Return the completed form to the Town Clerk’s office by mail or by emailing a photo of the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Absentee ballot applications must be received by March 31.
- When you receive your ballot, promptly vote Yes and return it to the Town Clerk’s office before polls close on Election Day.
A reminder: unlike the Presidential election last November, there will be no early voting at Town Hall for the April 6th Town Election.
Debate season! Catch up on Friday’s debate. Next up on March 22!
On Friday, March 12, I was honored to represent YES for Belmont in our first televised debate, hosted by Belmont Media Center and moderated by Joanna Tzouvelis of the Belmont Citizen Herald and Roger Colton. It felt great to air our message across Belmont, and we want as many people to watch the online video of it as possible. I am looking forward to our second debate, on Monday, March 22, hosted by the League of Women Voters, and invite you to watch. In the meantime, you can check out the full first debate here. Please spread the word about both debates to everyone you know.
Letters of Support Pour In
Belmont residents of all stripes have stepped up to voice support for the proposed Proposition 2 ½ Override. In letters to the Belmont Citizen Herald, residents have offered up their reasons for voting “YES.” Among this week’s letter writers:
- Jack Weis of The Warrant Committee writes that there are no hidden pots of gold in Belmont’s budget and that, when it comes to town and school services, “you get what you pay for.”
- Former School Committee member John Bowe writes that, despite being empty-nesters, he and his wife are looking forward to voting “YES” on the override.
- Sally Martin, the former president of the Friends of the Belmont Public Library, wrote to the Citizen Herald to warn about the impact of a NO vote on the town’s library. “Budget cuts will impact three key components of library operations,” she writes. Those include staffing, hours and materials.
A busy week ahead on the YES Campaign
With three weeks to go, we continue to reach voters in all kinds of ways.
- Yes for Belmont is now phone banking! Talking to people is a great way to win votes. We’ll provide all the material you need. Email email@example.com if you would like to support our phone banking.
- We’ll be out holding visibility signs on upcoming weekends. There will be two main locations: 2 Common Street (by the yellow Wellington Station building) and Cushing Square. Please sign up here for one-hour slots to hold signs and show your support.
- Take the 5 friends challenge: Your vote matters. You know what else matters? Your influence. In a Belmont election, nothing has a bigger impact than friends talking to friends. Click this link to take our 5 Friends Challenge. Reach out to your friends and help us win!
Lawn signs … get yours!
Did we mention that you can join hundreds of your Belmont neighbors by having a lawn sign at your home? Request one here: https://www.yesforbelmont.org/join-us/. If the wind has damaged your sign, let us know, and we will replace it!
Join one of our information sessions via ZOOM
Voters have lots of questions about the override. To help make sure everyone’s questions get answered, we are hosting regular, virtual information sessions with voters using the ZOOM platform. Our next session is Wednesday, March 17th at 8:00 PM or Thursday, March 18th at 7:00 PM. You can RSVP here. During these sessions, you can ask questions and learn more about why we need an override and how the money raised by an override will help maintain vital Town and School services.
Help spread the word about Y4B
Our campaign message is breaking through: this override is needed to preserve the town services we all rely on and support our students, now when they need it more than ever. As we begin to turn the page on COVID and reopen our schools, we will continue to remind voters that this election is not a referendum on the last 12 months; it is a vote for our future.
We are always looking for supporters who are willing to have conversations with their friends and neighbors about the override, and who can share news and updates with their friends on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Thank you again for your support of Yes for Belmont and please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, feedback or concerns!
Chair, YES for Belmont