Selectmen balance budget, but want more reductions

Selectmen last night approved a balanced budget, but said they want to see it reduced even further to minimize the burden on taxpayers. The $46M budget they approved would translate a tax increase of approximately 4.5% next year.

Selectmen said they’d feel more comfortable with a 2% increase for taxpayers, but to do that, the town would need to cut an additional $570K from the budget, money they said would have to come from the schools.

“We don’t see any other way,” Boland said after the meeting.

The selectmen reached a balanced budget by trimming $220K from the requests made by municipal departments, including police, fire, and DPW, along with eliminating $350K in capital items. The cuts to municipal budgets are in addition to the $420K eliminated by the schools last week.

Selectmen also decided to use $412K in overlay funds, which includes the $1.1M released after telecommunications lawsuits were settled earlier this year, to offset capital items like DPW equipment, road maintenance, and $107K for school technology.

While the police and fire departments will see increases next year under the approved budget — by 2.37% and 1.06%, respectively — the chiefs of both departments said they needed more to maintain services at the current level. Both said they would need to make cuts, but they didn’t know exactly where the reductions would come.

“I’m not sure where it’s going to come from,” Police Chief Jane Moran said of the reduction. “It’s going to be difficult.”

Moran and Fire Chief Mauro said about 90% of their respective budgets are allocated to personnel costs which are determined by collective bargaining.

The town has not yet ratified new contracts for any of its unions. Selectman John Rooney said the budget approved last night does not include any salary increases for union employees. If increases are won by the unions, the town will have to find the money elsewhere.

Boland said he would have liked to bring the budget down to a level that would mean no increase for taxpayers next year, but to do so would have required “significant layoffs” in town personnel.

You can read another account of last night’s budget discussion in the Metrowest Daily News.

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Earl E. Byrd
12 years ago

K-8 is up 2.01%; Algonquin is up 0.55%; and police and fire are up 2.37% and 1.06%, respectively.

With the largest increase noted being 2.37% for the PD, there’s something else going on if we’re looking at a tax increase of 4.5%, especially if the 4.5% increase includes drawing down the overlay account by $412,000.

What am I missing?

What budgets are increasing above the 2.37% that are driving the proposed 4.5% increase in taxes?

From the 3/10/2011 post (School committee trims K-8 budget request by $420K):

“The $16.7M operating budget approved by the school committee last night represents a 2.01% increase over last year’s budget.”

From the MWDN article referenced in the 2/23/2011 post (MWDN: Selectmen ask schools to cut $2M from budget):

“He did say that cuts to the Algonquin Regional High School budget, which increased .55 percent over fiscal 2011, would be nearly impossible.”

From this post:

“The $46M budget they approved would translate a tax increase of approximately 4.5% next year.”


“While the police and fire departments will see increases next year under the approved budget — by 2.37% and 1.06%”

wile e coyote
12 years ago

1% of a dollar is a penny, 1% of 100k is $1000 it appears you are focusing on the wrong number.

John Butler
12 years ago

I have received this morning from the Treasurer a copy of the budget model that has the Selectmen’s recommendation from last night. It is available to the public now at in the Notes section on the top page.

I wasn’t at their meeting so I cannot report on the process, however the changes in this draft budget do not match the report above. Compared to their request from a week ago this request for budget increase is reduced on the municipal side only $40,000, not $220,000. (The $220,000 in reduced increases must refer to some original request level.) The capital increase is down only $80,000, not $350,000. On the other hand the total shown for the schools in the Selectmen’s proposal is down $570,000 below the school committee request of a week ago and this would represent an actual cut compared to the prior year. Compared to the actual budget for the current fiscal year, this draft proposal for next year would increase the municipal side by 3.5% and cut the K8 school and school employee benefits, combined, by 1%. None of this implies what is the right budget for our community, but I thought the record should be kept straight.

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