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'We can't afford not to do it'

School project vote Monday

School Building Committee Chairman Scott Lazo, right, answers a question from resident Debra Mercure. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
February 04, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — With only three days before the critical Town Council vote on the school project, curiosity and a strong sense of hope pervaded the small public forum on it Wednesday at Eastford Road School.

"I'm a taxpayer and I don't want to pay any more. I pay enough now," said School Building Committee Chairman Scott Lazo. "But we can't afford not to do it."

Attendee Debra Mercure, a paraprofessional at the high school, agreed, saying she both hopes it will pass and thinks it will. Even though she said she has heard there's a chance of a small tax hike, it doesn't bother her.

"If we get a new school and I have to pay $100 more a year, Woo hoo! We've got a new school," Mercure said, noting if it's built as planned (to open in Sept. 2013), her son would be in the first class to spend four years there.

Consistent with their previous statements, Lazo and School Committee Chairman Jack Jovan said Town Manager Chris Clark has been working to keep any tax hike low or eliminate it entirely by "back-end loading" the school bonds (rolling other bonds into the school when those projects are paid off), selling a few town buildings, getting special legislation to extend the normal payback period to 30 years, applying for a new kind of federal bond with low interest rates and including various oversight measures in the project.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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