norton election

Voters check in at the Norton High School gymnasium polls at the 2016 town election. (File photo)

NORTON — Voters Tuesday head to the polls to decide on a $2.2 million tax hike but also to elect residents to several town positions in the annual town election.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the high school off West Main Street (Route 123). Turnout is expected to be heavy for the town’s 12,898 registered voters.

The $2.2 million budget override of state tax levy limiting law Proposition 2 1/2 would be split evenly between the schools and local government for the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The $1.1 million for schools would provide full-day kindergarten without tuition, do away with school bus fees, reduce sports fees and fund several positions.

About half the town’s $1.1 million would be used to reopen the Chartley fire station, with additional money earmarked for police and the library and other departments.

Local officials estimate the projected tax impact would be 98 cents on the tax rate, and the owner of a typical $324,000 home would pay $318 more in taxes.

Unlike a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion that pays for building projects over the life of a bond, a budget override is a permanent tax hike.

Supporters cite the need for more revenue to provide important school and town government services.

Opponents contend residents are struggling now to pay their tax and utility bills, and maintain seniors on fixed incomes face losing their homes in the face of skyrocketing expenses.

Voters by a margin of about 200 votes rejected a $3.7 million override last May.

If the new override fails, a balanced budget will be proposed at the May 8 town meeting.

Besides the referendum question for the override, there are the usual town positions on the ballot, but only one contest is featured.

In a race for a three-year seat on the water and sewer commission, Thomas Weir, a technician with the Foxboro Water and Sewer Department, is challenging longtime commission member Diane McElligott.

STEPHEN PETERSON can be reached at 508-236-0377 or at speterson@thesunchronicle.com.

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