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A history of Harvard’s 26 overrides since 1989

Town residents have voted on 26 overrides since 1989. Eighteen of those overrides passed; eight did not. Most were to cover operating budget deficits, but several were for the schools, the library, or specific items such as a Council on Aging van. All overrides must pass at both Town Meeting and the ballot box; operating budget overrides are passed at Town Meeting by voting to pass the omnibus budget, which is contingent on the override passing at Town Election. 

1989
An override for $81,000 for school operations failed.

1990
An operating budget override for $221,000 failed.

1991
The town voted on four overrides. Two for additional funding for the library and school totaling $173,200 passed. The other two failed; one was to fund a $4,000 weed harvesting program, the other was to fund $47,800 in salary increases for town employees.

1992
Again the town voted on four overrides; this time, all four passed. They provided funding for the school, the library, legal services regarding reuse of Fort Devens, and new highway and Fire Department positions for a total of $436,445.

1998
Three overrides were requested to help fund the schools, the conservation fund, and public works equipment. All three passed for a total of $230,000.

2000
Four overrides passed, providing $372,750 for the operating budget, a library aide and curriculum coordinators for the elementary school, and a van and community support position for the Council on Aging. 

2003
The town voted to fund a $550,000 operating budget override. This amount represented about 4% of the operating budget that year.

2005
Town voters were given three operating budget override amounts to vote on: $960,000, $795,000, and $500,000. All three amounts passed at Town Meeting, leaving the final amount to be decided at the ballot box. Voters chose $500,000.

2006
$400,000 operating budget override passed.

2007
Yet another operating budget override passed, this time for $650,000, again about 4% of that year’s operating budget. A second override for additional school expenses, $113,500, also passed.

2008
A $786,000 operating budget override failed at the polls on April 1. A Special Town Meeting was held on May 21 where voters approved a revised budget contingent on a $200,000 override. That override passed at a Special Election on June 11.

2010
A request for a $107,000 override to supplement user fees at the Bromfield School failed.

Source: Massachusetts Department of Revenue Division of Local Services and Harvard Annual Reports.

—Compiled by Joan Eliyesil

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