Friday, July 27, 2001
Capital projects may total $20 million over next five years
Town committees begin long-term budget planning
On July 17, the Carlisle Selectmen met with members of the school, school building, long-term capital planning, and financial committees to review the town's projected capital and operating requirements over the next five to ten years. Over several meetings, these committees hope to reach agreement on a long term plan for the town providing guidance on financing future expenses without undue hardship to taxpayers.
Selectman John Ballantine presented handouts highlighting a number of financial issues and concerns. Three capital projects, the school septic system, and the expansions of the high school and the Carlisle elementary/middle school, will need to be planned for within the next two to five years. In total, these capital projects will require financing of up to $20,000,000. Along with the capital costs, operating costs at each school will increase; the Carlisle school, for example, will require an increase of $600,000 to $850,000 per year. In addition, the town may wish to undertake projects not yet defined; the housing authority, for example, hopes to put forward a plan for affordable housing which may require town financing.
One outcome of the meeting was a consensus that it's time to move ahead with planning for an expanded Carlisle School. According to Ballantine, "The school is growing to 900 students within three to five years." At 900, the current facility will be at capacity. Ballantine adds, "Projections of town build-out point to a maximum of 1100 students over the next 20 years. Starting to get a new school in place has to be a priority."
But before a new school can be planned, the school's septic issue must be resolved. "We certainly understand the urgency," said Ballantine, noting that the joint committees' goal is to reach a resolution this fall. Another goal will be for each committee to reach tighter, more realistic assessments of future debt and operating expenses.
On August 7 the selectmen will host the school building committee to present the feasibility study for a new school and hear an update on the school septic situation.
© +YEAR+ The Carlisle Mosquito