MARBLEHEAD — Even with a low voter turnout, residents voted to raise taxes that would help repair seawall damages as well as repairs to Abbot Hall.
Residents, about 12 percent, voted on the two ballot questions Thursday night. Question one was in regards to significant repairs for Abbot Hall, which amount to $8,982,963, including geothermal air-conditioning for some of the offices, and fixing up the building’s roof. The second question was about the storm-damaged seawalls all over town and the need for repairs which would cost $871,894.
“We had a lot of damage from the three storms in March, with some of the seawalls having been repaired in the interim, but others sustained more significant damage,” said Alison Nieto, the town’s financial director.
A yes vote on question two would allow repairs on the seawalls at Front Street, Grace Oliver Beach, and Fort Sewall, as well as a few others, according to Nieto. Both of the proposed tax raisers will borrow from the provisions of Proposition 2½, which was adopted by Massachusetts voters in 1980 and is related to the total amount of property taxes in which a city or town can raise each year.
The seawall question had a 1,555-326 vote and the Abbot Hall repairs question gained a 1,340-539 vote. Marblehead residents will now pay about $10 a year in taxes for the next 10 years for seawall repairs and about $64 a year for the next 20 years in taxes for the Abbot Hall repairs.
Relieved at the yes votes for both questions, Board of Selectmen members Judy Jacobi and Jackie Belf-Becker embraced. Both women acknowledged the dire need to get started on the Abbot Hall repairs.
“I’m happy it passed but I’m more pleased that people recognize the importance of this building,” said Jacobi.