HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A Hampden County Superior Court judge has denied a motion for an injunction brought by four Holyoke City Councilors.
The City Council voted in approval of including a question on the November 2023 ballot regarding the reduction of the city’s Community Preservation Act property tax surcharge. However, Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia vetoed the proposal because he believed the question should be on the 2024 presidential election ballot so that more residents will vote on the question.
“Election records show three to four times as many Holyokers participate in a presidential rather than a municipal election,” Garcia wrote. “Letting more people have their say seems to me worth the slight delay in voting.”
Superior Court Justice Jane E. Mulqueen has agreed with Mayor Garcia. She wrote, “There has been no showing of any other harm if the surcharge reduction question appears on the November 2024 ballot instead of November 2023.”
The four city council members, Linda Vacon, Wilmer Puello, Kevin Jourdain and David Bartley, claimed that the mayor did not have the veto power in this case. However, the judge rejected that, stating “the Community Preservation Act (CPA) does not preempt or override Holyoke’s city charter.” She also said “The plaintiffs failed to follow the procedure for amending the surcharge as required” by state law.
According to the Mayor’s office, there is a predicted 70 percent voter turnout in the city for the 2024 presidential elections, versus the expected 15-20 percent in this year’s election.
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