REHOBOTH — Voters for a third time rejected a tax hike to pay for the new high school in Taunton that the town’s vocational students attend.
The ballot question failed by a vote of 408 to 369 in Tuesday’s annual town election that also featured three races.
The ballot question asked residents again if they would support a tax increase through state tax levy-limiting law Proposition 2 1/2 to pay for the town’s assessment for the new $300 million Bristol-Plymouth Technical School.
The estimated annual tax increase on a typical home would have been $120. That would have amounted to about $28 per $100,000 valuation or 28 cents added to the tax rate per $1,000 assessed valuation, for many years of a 30-year bond, town officials said.
The town’s annual assessment for many years will be about $615,000, and the total tab will run roughly $17.6 million. The assessment impacts hit starting in fiscal year 2025 and biggest impacts kick in beginning in 2029.
With no tax increase above the levy limit approved, the town’s building costs will have to be paid out of the regular operating budget, which officials have warned could lead to cutbacks in town and school services.
Assessment is based on enrollment and Rehoboth has about 74 students attending the vocational school.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority is funding up to $125.5 million or around 40% of the school project costs, with the $179.9 million remainder shared by district communities.
Residents in a special election March 2022 opposed the new school building 613-257, but it fairly narrowly passed by a majority of voters in the school district towns.
Rehoboth residents at that election, in a separate ballot question, also rejected by a 465-403 vote a tax increase via a debt exclusion from Prop 2 1/2 to pay the town’s share of the building costs.
At the November state election, local voters a second time opposed the tax hike, that time by a vote of 2,896 to 2,017.
The contests on the ballot were for Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee, park commission and constable.
School committee members Aaron Morse, 522 votes, and Richard Barrett, 445 votes, retained their seats, holding off a challenge from Robert Owens, 378 votes, for the three-year terms.
Incumbent Kenneth Abrams, 510 votes, and Miranda Aguiar, 212 votes, competed for a five-year park commission term.
And Russell Richmond Jr., 344 votes, lost to Gary Zimmer, 364 votes, for a new constable slot, for three years.
A total of 808 or 8% of the town’s 10,282 registered voters turned out to the Francis Farm poll. Town Clerk Laura Schwall predicted a turnout of about 10% based on past elections.
Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.