Peabody tax and water bills on rise as city tries to pay for new voke school boondoggle

19 Jun

Mayor calls for $5.4M budget increase; $3M assessed to pay for new voke school

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If you supported those wasteful, big-spending elected officials – especially State Rep Ted Speliotis — who pushed for Peabody to join in the taxpayer screw job called the new North Shore Technical school, then please, bend over right now and scream out “thank you, sir! May I have another?!”

Call this horror show The MEGA VOKE that ate the Peabody Taxpayers!

Artists rendering of MEGA VOKE!

Artist rendering of MEGA VOKE!

Because of this opulent and overly ostentatious new voke school in Danvers – which will only serve around 150 of Peabody’s roughly 6,000 students – not only are your property taxes going up in 2015, but get ready for an increase in water and sewer rates too.

 

Mayor Ted Bettencourt submitted his FY2015 city budget to the City Council, and it’s calling for a $5.4 million increase, of which roughly $3 million will go to offset our share of next year’s piece of the North Shore Voke pork pie.

The mayor, in a letter to the city council obtained by The Eye, says that roughly means an average tax increase of $189 per homeowner, and a likely, yet to be determined increase in Peabody’s traditionally reasonable water and sewer rates. For those keeping score, that’s 13 straight years of property tax increases in Peabody.

And … this is just Year 1 of this Disaster in Danvers. This state of the art, $133 million school in Speliotis’ hometown, is the “gift” that will keep on giving for Peabody taxpayers now and forever.

Speliotis, who faces an election year challenge from Peabody Republican Tom Lyons, not only got this Taj Mahal of a school for his hometown of Danvers, but I’m sure he made big labor happy with the building’s bloated construction costs, which are already over budget.

Then there’s the hacks-at-the-trough process they’re using in hiring administrators. The new school’s superintendent, a guy named Daniel O’Connell, will make $197,000/year. That’s about $50K more a year than what we thought was a big contract for Peabody Schools Super Joe Mastrocola. Looks now  like Joe was a huge bargain when you consider that he manages a system with roughly 5,550 more students than will attend O’Connell’s school.

And, it gets ever worse. Not only will Peabody need to pony up millions more to send a handful of students to this new school, but because we’re transferring students from our system to this regional voke system, Peabody is set to lose $504K additional when it comes to state aid.

Next time you complain about the conditions in Peabody’s public schools, think about this: It’s only going to get worse while we as a city figure out a way to pay for a school that will service less than 3% of Peabody’s total student population. And we haven’t even talked about the costs associated with our own much-needed new Higgins Middle School, where huge construction bills are in the mail.

At this point, I should add a disclaimer for those screaming that I’m anti-vocational education. This space supports vocational education as much as the next blog, but we’re just not seeing the practicality or fairness of bilking the taxpayers in this particular situation.

Here are the facts, ladies and gentlemen: An estimated 200 Peabody kids, who we could have given a valuable vocational education had we only – for a lot less cost – re-vamped our on Peabody Vocational High School – are now going to watch helplessly as 150 of their classmates hit the lottery and are allowed to attend this educational palace on the hill in Danvers.

So, please bend over today, and thank Ted Speliotis, and those Peabody City Councilors who voted for this disastrous “gift” that will keep on giving for us the taxpayers.

16 Responses to “Peabody tax and water bills on rise as city tries to pay for new voke school boondoggle”

  1. Anonymous June 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Did the mayor vote for the school when he was on the city council?

  2. Bob Croce June 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    No. Ted Bettencourt was one of the few who voted against joining the voke district when he was a councilor at-large. I don’t recall the exact vote, but I believe that Rico Mello, Barry Sinewitz, and Bettencourt we’re the only ones who voted against joining. If I’m recalling that wrong, please let me know.

  3. Anon June 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    So if I got this right, Cost: $3Million (a year) for 150 kids = $20,000 per kid. PLUS we (Peabody) lose $504K in state aid or $3350 per kid. That’s $23350 per kid.

    My question is: “How much does it cost to go to St. John’s or Bishop Fenwick?”

    Let’s talk School Vouchers.

    • Truman Road June 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

      If your math is right here it actually costs more to attend this new voke than it does St. John’s Prep. What a bunch of pigs these politicians are. This guy Spelliotis has been the worst state rep West Peabody has ever had. I don’t know this Lyons guy but he has my vote. Time for Goodtime Teddy to go!

  4. Independent Voter June 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    So, we HOMEOWNERS are being penalized via higher taxes ($189 average) to pay for 160 kids from Peabody to attend this school – and out of the 160 – wonder how many of their parents are paying property taxes and water/sewer. You are so right! It is a screwing alright….as usual – what is the advantage of owning a home in Peabody anymore????? Especially if you are a homeowner and don’t utilize the Peabody public schools

    • Anon June 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

      Tonight, 7:00pm, the City Council will be approving the School Budget.

  5. Angry Voter June 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    I send my kids to parochial school. It’s a personal choice. I don’t expect to not pay taxes or anything crazy like that, but when my taxes keep going up because some bloated rep wants to showoff his new school to his buddies — and tell me, as a resident of Peabody, how the hell am I in his district?!?! — I get angry!

  6. Bob Croce June 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    This was probably the most-irresponsible affirmative vote taken by our city council in a very long time. It was as if eight councilors didn’t even realize what they were voting on, and what a mess it would cause us later on. School Committee wasn’t much better. Beverley Dunne was the only one of them against us getting entangled in this.

    The worst part is that this is only the beginning here. Each year now, we’ll have Peabody Public School budget, and a North Shore Voke budget, and with the voke budget we’ll essentially just be paying the bill sent to us. It’s estimated to be $3M in 2015, but that could sky rocket in coming years, since we have very little control over this as a city.

    Meanwhile, we’re struggling to get more money to improve our own schools, have a flood mitigation plan on the drawing board that could cost upwards of $20M, and have other major repairs to infrastructure that need to paid for.

    We need more revenue, yet we can’t keep putting more of the burden on residential taxpayers, many of whom currently struggle just to make ends meet. Although a $189 average increase doesn’t sound like much for 2015, when you combine that with the average increases that have occurred every year for the past 13 years, you’re talking about a cumulative 60 or 70% tax increase on most home owners since 2001.

    What happens in 2016, when the North Shore Voke district tells us our share is no $5M?

    The other issue here is that, by closing down our own voke program. hundreds of Peabody kids are going to be shut out when it comes to this educational experience. The North Shore Voke is only giving us between 150 and 175 seats.

    For what we’re getting, this has to be the biggest waste of Peabody taxpayer money in our city’s history. Shame again on those councilors who voted for this, and on Ted Speliotis for talking them into it with his flim flam-like tactics.

  7. Anonymous June 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Get rid of this Speliotis guy. He’s got to be the worst state rep on Beacon Hill,, and that’s really saying something. What the hell has he ever done other than force our taxes to rise? Goodbye Ted.

  8. Taxpayer June 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Spelliotis is the face of this disaster for Peabody taxpayers but the city councilors who voted for it need to be held accountable too, Can someone please name them here so I know who NOT to vote for next time?

  9. anonymous June 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    I’ve voted against Speliotis in every election since I’ve been living here and he has been on the ballot. IMO he is one of the stupidest politicians I’ve ever come across. Maybe we are the stupid ones though because we’ve been played big time and he keeps getting re-elected. Is there any way to get out of this voke commitment? And how is the amount we pay each year determined? Do we just take their word for it? Somehow I don’t have much faith in a guy that is paid almost 200k to run a single school to give us an honest accounting. As for that “average” $189 tax increase, if you live in West Peabody you can be sure it will be significantly more. My taxes have more than tripled since 1997. This should push that total to almost quadrupled. Meanwhile I make less now than I did ten years ago. Time to think about moving, but where to is the problem.

  10. Anonymous June 20, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    isn’t there anyway out of this mess ? can we cut our huge losses and start building our own world class voc school ? maybe the city council can claim insanity.

  11. flabbergasted says... June 20, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    There is something seriously wrong with Ted Speliotis. Did you see the snooze article. He looked on in Danvers as they took down from a flagpole a flag for the POW’s and MIA’s and put up a gay pride flag. This guy is an absolute disgrace and a complete and should resign from office. Total and complete slap in the face to our veterans. I’m going to support Tom Lyons over this incompetent fool.

  12. Greed is good says.... June 20, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    Maybe if Saslaw doesn’t get the meter reader job, he can float over to Danvers on some ballons to the new voke and look for a job there. Him and Ted Spiliotis would make a good team…dumb and dumber.

  13. tax payer July 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    The taxes keep going up to pay your salaries. Peabody is not that great to live. The house are just about touching each other.
    Mayor Toregien never raised the taxes.
    The new want to be poltical yuppies don’t care about people.
    We just will all start to stop paying and people are already talking.

    Isn’t the water and sewer enough cost, you rip off crooks.
    All the lawns will be brown that will make Peabody look even better.
    We don’t all get raises like you city workers and most of us are trying to make ends meet, we have no food You people are worst than the evil on this earth, taken our money we don’t have. I will never vote again.
    You People are careless and all should be removed from our city offices.

  14. Kathleen November 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Thank Speliotis and all of the Councilors who voted for this fiasco by voting them ALL OUT OF OFFICE.

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