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As we prepare for the various public meetings (including the community meetings on September 19 and 23) on the subject of the Newton Center for Active Living (NewCAL), it will instructive to look at the materials presented on the project’s website. Since the Administration decided that the working meetings at which the deliberations took place were not to be public meetings, these summaries are all we have to go on at this point. (There don’t seem to be minutes available for the key decision-making sessions.)

Today, let’s look at the answer to one of the frequently asked questions, “How will we pay for the NewCAL project?”

Let’s parse this answer:

The NewCAL project will be paid for within the City budget and will not require an increase in taxes to fund it.

Every year, the City produces a balanced budget. Indeed, it is required to. So, if we take as a promise that the capital and operating costs associated with the project will be handled from within the annual budget, that implies that other things will not be funded. What are they?

Like a mortgage, it will be bonded over a 30-year period, and annual debt payments will come from the City’s operating budget.

Part of maintaining a AAA debt rating is to be prudent in the amount of bonds issued by the City. As above, is the Mayor proposing that some other capital project will not be funded to compensate for this project? If so, which one?

Should the pool facility be included with this project, the funding source would be determined at that time.


So, in the search for “transparency,” we receive an answer to this FAQ that is a nullity.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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