Friday, May 26, 2006
Shorts from the FinTeam, May 23
Additional state aid and new growth were two of the reasons that members of the Carlisle Finance Team (FinTeam) met in good spirits on Tuesday, May 23, as the fiscal year winds to a close at the end of June. The FinTeam typically meets twice a month, and includes a Selectman, the Town Administrator, Town Accountant, Assessor, Town Clerk, Treasurer and Tax Collector, Finance Committtee Chair, and School Business Manager. The purpose of the group is to share financial information, rather than to make decisions or set policy.
• State aid estimates up. Town Treasurer and Tax Collector Larry Barton reported the Senate version of the state FY07 budget provides a net increase of $80,661 to Carlisle over what was estimated prior to Town Meeting. This number is subject to change until the end of June, however, as the Senate and the House must come to agreement. Earlier, the House version provided less aid to Carlisle than both the Senate version and the Governor's budget proposal made earlier.
• New growth in housing. Assessor John Speidel has seen "lots of new houses going up," and said the increase in tax revenues due to new construction may be stronger than he estimated earlier, "We might be in better shape than I thought."
The increase in construction of primarily high-end homes, comes during a state-wide slow-down in home sales. According to "Buyer's Market," page one of the May 24 Boston Globe, "Sales of single-family homes fell to their lowest April level since 1995."
• On-line tax payments. Barton expects software will be in place to allow on-line tax payments by July 1 on a new official town web site. After tax payments, he thought the web site could quickly be upgraded to allow on-line payments for recreation program fees, or to purchase school lunch tickets.
• School balances FY06 budget. School Business Manager Steve Moore said that higher fuel and electricity prices created a total of $56,000 in unexpected costs for the school, but he expects the entire amount to be offset by extra funds available within the school's budget. He plans to use $29,000 in savings from the Wastewater Treatment Facility construction, $18,000 in unspent circuit-breaker aid to special education, and an additional $9,000 from other special education funds. It had been feared the school would suffer a large deficit when fuel prices spiked after Hurricane Katrina last September. Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie joined others in praising Moore for his work in keeping the FY06 school budget on target. "That's really terrific. Thank you."
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