Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Southbridge School Committee Meeting - July 28, 2015

Heavy Social Media Use Linked With Mental Health Issues In Teens

More than two hours of use per day can spell trouble

Most members of Generation Z can't imagine life without Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Nearly one in four teens reports being online "almost constantly," with much of that online time dominated by social media. 

But the effect of social networking on teens' mental health has been largely unclear, since so little research has been conducted on the matter. A new study warns, however, that frequent social media use may indeed take a toll on a young person's psychological well-being. 

Southbridge Town Council Meeting - July 27, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Breaking News: Steven Bliss Appointed Interim Superintendent

Ken O'Brien

At its meeting Wednesday night, by a vote of 6 to 1, the Southbridge School Committee appointed Steven Bliss as interim Superintendent for the Southbridge School District. The sole dissenting vote was cast by committee member Erin Quinney.

 Bliss recently announced his departure from the position of Superintendent of the Dover-Sherborn school district.

Mr. Bliss had twice before been a school principal (in Southbridge and Sturbridge), had served four years as an assistant superintendent and two years as a superintendent. In addition, from all I have been able to find, he received glowing comments from all of those concerned with his previous positions.

Southbridge Town Council Meeting - July 20, 2015

Joint Meeting of the Southbridge Town Council and School Committee - July 20, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Southbridge School Committee Meeting - July 14, 2015

Reset The Tax Levy Limit

Ken O'Brien

Since 2005 the median value of homes in Southbridge has dropped by over 30%.

Since 2005 the property tax rate in Southbridge has increased by over 77%.

Out of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts we rank 15th in terms of unemployment.

The Town Council took a baby step and said no to any tax increase this year.

It’s not enough.

In two or three years the revenues from the landfill are going to end.

The past history of our town government is to whistle past the graveyard, continue as it always has and stick residents with the bill.

Will they cut services? No!

Will they cut personnel? No!

Will they raise taxes? You bet your sweet ass they will!

It has to stop.

It is time for the voters and tax paying citizens of Southbridge to force a change.

Rather than wait for the Council to adopt tax increases that will perpetuate the status quo, it is time to force them to cut expenses.

It is time to reset the basis for taxation in accordance with the reset in property values.

It is time to put a proposition 2 ½  underride on the 2016 town ballot.

Such an underride question would read as follows:
“Shall the Town of Southbridge be required to reduce the amount of real estate and personal property taxes to be assessed for the fiscal year beginning July first, two thousand and sixteen by an amount equal to $2,500,000?”

If adopted, the underride would reset the tax levy limit of the town permanently. The Council would be compelled to adopt a budget that would reflect the cuts necessary to accommodate the loss of Casella funds without any increase in real estate and personal property taxes.

Let me know if you agree with me that the time has come to act.

If you do, then we will begin the process of putting this on next year’s ballot.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Southbridge Weekly Bulletin

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Southbridge Town Council Agenda - July 6, 2015

Southbridge Home Values and Tax Rates

According to the Warren Group "The ten communities [in Massachusetts] with the largest decreases in median [home] prices since 2005 were Athol, Fitchburg, Southbridge, Warren, Orange, Gardner, Winchendon, Barre, Randolph and New Bedford." (The Warren Group Reports Top Communities In Median Price Increases Since 2005)

According to The Boston Globe, Southbridge had the tenth lowest median home values in 2013. However, according to the Boston Business Journal, we ranked 15th in terms of property tax rates in 2015.