The Board of Selectmen last night reviewed preliminary budget numbers that suggest a potential $2 million shortfall for fiscal year 2010. That’s more than double the shortfall the board anticipated a few months ago. Selectman Salvatore Giorlandino called the number “sobering.”
In light of the shortfall, Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf asked the board to consider postponing all large non-emergency capital requests to a separate fall Town Meeting. Operational budgets and critical capital requests would still be considered at the scheduled Town Meeting in April.
“We need to be looking at stabilizing this town,” Phaneuf said.
Phaneuf warned layoffs are a possibility if the town over-commits its resources. “The worst thing would be if we start funding things and then find out we don’t have enough money, so we have to start laying people off,” she said.
Board members specifically called out the proposal for a new police station as a capital request that should be postponed. School capital requests might also be moved to the fall.
Chairman Bill Boland pointed out that some recurring capital projects like road maintenance should not be deferred.
The board did not make a decision on whether to hold an additional Town Meeting in the fall. On Saturday, the board will meet with town department heads to start the budget review process in preparation for Town Meeting in April.
Advisory Committee requests reduced budgets for fiscal year 2010
Southborough may face budget shortfall in 2010