Additional BOF Budget Cuts, Adjustments

A $200,000 request to build a new garage at Indian Neck Fire Co. 9 has been put off until 2016. The Blackstone Library won't get $50,000 in building upgrade money next year, but will likely see that in 2016, too.

Those are some of the $865,000 cuts and adjustments made by the Board of Finance (BOF) on March 24 to create a $102,859,894 proposed 2014-'15 Town Budget, for a 2.8 percent annual increase and a new mill rate of 26.26 mills. The BOF-approved schools budget makes up $52,923,605 of the bottom line and the BOF-approved town department side comprises the rest at $49,936,289.

The town budget now heads to Representative Town Meeting (RTM) committees for review before it goes to a full RTM vote in May. Then it goes back to BOF for the final vote to set the mill rate. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

In voting in the recommended budget changes last week, the BOF chopped nearly $300,000 away from the Board of Education's request (see "Finance Board Trims Schools Inrease" on page TKTK). The BOF removed $526,000 from town-side capital expenses.

The Recreation Department will receive $50,000 from the town out of $150,000 requested to overhaul Hammer Field's playgrounds (the additional $100,000 requested is expected to come from grants, donations, and other sources).

In some cases, things still got through, but in different ways-for example, instead of funding the Fire Department's $70,000 capital expense request to re-fit Marine 5's engine, the money will be charged out from the Contingency Fund. In a similar move, $29,000 requested for a new police motorcycle will be funded out of asset forfeiture monies rather than as a capital expense.

By looking at other means of funding (such as using sufficient funds already in the fund balance), the BOF was able to reduce a Public Works sinking fund request for equipment replacement from $253,000 to $190,000 and still allow for purchases of vehicles needed next year.

The BOF removed a $50,000 request for Energy Projects because an existing fund balance in excess of $48,000 will provide ample dollars for the improvements requested. In a similar fashion, $40,000 requested for vehicle lifts at the Fire Headquarters was cut from capital and will be funded by the remaining dollars in the fund balance remaining following the headquarters' recently completed $12 million construction project.

In addition, town road improvements that were listed as needing capital spending of $415,000 were reduced down to $300,000, as the town anticipates receiving as much as $350,000 in aid from the state in the form of town aid and municipal revenue sharing grants.


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