Swampscott, Facing Deficit, To Vote Whether To Buy Lottery Season Ticket
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. (AP) _ Some employees of this seaside town believe Swampscott should take a gamble on the lottery in the hope of avoiding a $450,000 town budget deficit next year.
″We’re short money - it’s as simple as that,″ said Carl Reardon, who came up with the idea of spending $100 in town funds on a season ticket for the Massachusetts Megabucks lottery game.
Reardon, the town’s part-time commissioner of trust funds and a school custodian, said Monday his plan has produced mixed reactions.
″It ranges from the greatest idea they ever heard of to completely stupid,″ he said.
But he added that even those who oppose spending town money on the lottery are in favor of buying a season Megabucks ticket with donations from the 324 town meeting members.
The town meeting, the governing body for the community of 13,800 people, began last week. The meeting recessed Monday night before the Megabucks issue was put to a vote.
″It’s going to be one of the first things up tomorrow night,″ Reardon said afterwards.
Reardon said Swampscott’s $16.5 million budget, like that of many other Massachusetts cities and towns, is being squeezed by rising expenses on one side and Proposition 2 1/2 , which passed in 1981 and puts a limit on property taxes, on the other.
Jack Paster, the town clerk and treasurer, said the state Department of Revenue has advised him it believed it would be illegal to buy a lottery ticket with town money. The town’s Finance Committee also has recommended against approving the measure.
That hasn’t deterred Reardon, who said that if town meeting members turn down the plan to buy a ticket from Swampscott’s budget, he will offer a proposal to petition the Legislature to allow municipalities to buy Megabucks tickets.
And if that vote fails, he said he will fall back on his idea of asking town meeting members to pitch in for a $100 season ticket.
A season ticket allows a holder to bet the same set of numbers for a year, in each of two weekly drawings. A single ticket is $1.