A debt exclusion is a kind of override. It is a request to the voters to raise taxes to cover the repayment and debt service for a capital project. The taxes required to pay for the project are levied until the debt is paid and then taxes go back down. For example, if the town needs 10 million dollars to pay for the renovation of a building, the Select Board can ask the voters to increase their taxes to repay that borrowing. This would mean an increase of some percentage on everyone’s property tax for 20 years until the debt is paid. You can find more information from the Division of Local Services here.
Since 1989, there have been 4,514 debt exclusion votes, of which 4,034 (89%) have been successful. (Source: Massachusetts DLS Municipal Databank)