The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 1, 2009

FinCom wraps up FY10 budget

The FY10 operating budget to be presented at Town Meeting May 4 may not be a large item of controversy this year. The Finance Committee (FinCom) worked hard to keep budgets tight, resulting in no request for an override of Proposition 2 ½ limits on tax levies for town operations. Only one member of the public appeared at the FinCom’s Public Hearing on Monday April 27, which was also telecast to a CCTV audience that hopefully numbered a few more.

Chair Dave Model presented a quick overview of the FY10 budget proposal, which will go into effect July 1, 2009 if passed at Town Meeting. Overall, the town budget is up 2.83% over FY09, totaling $23,870,989. New growth was $13 million in FY09 and is projected at $15 million for FY10, providing a 4.15% increase in tax receipts without an override. New growth is the amount of new real estate value added to the tax rolls by the beginning of the year, and provides funding increases outside the 2 ½% limit on existing property. During the heyday of the real estate boom, Model noted, Carlisle was adding as much as $25 million per year in new growth

State aid is projected to drop by 10% based on the Massachusetts House bill recently passed. Funds paid by the state in lieu of taxes on Great Brook Farm and other state-owned property are expected to drop by $50,000. Local receipts,which include auto excise taxes and investment income are expected to drop by 5%.

will receive a 1.9% increase; other town departments a 1.2% increase; benefits and insurance are projected to stay level. Debt will be up 20%, but since debt service represents only 7.5% of the town’s total spending, the increase is not large.

Originally, departments were asked to submit guideline budgets that included no increase in funding. In allocating the funds left over, priority was given to safety. Police, Communications, and Fire received a 2.5% increase above guideline, or $33,000. The DPW received 2% or $18,000. The Gleason Library received 2% additional, or $10,000. The Carlisle School was essentially flat, receiving $67,000. The high school was given a higher guideline of 4%, and an additional $47,000 was added to meet Concord’s budget for CCHS. However, some of this increase is offset by a decline in high school debt payments.

To avoid an override, a transfer of $15,813 in Free Cash will be requested to support Long-Term Capital Requirements and $88,812 for the Carlisle School. Another Free Cash transfer request of $75,000 would add to the Stabilization Fund, leaving a Free Cash balance of $814,660. This is just above the $800,000 goal, or 3.5% of the budget, recommended for maintaining a solid bond rating. Treasurer Larry Barton noted that Free Cash will gain an additional infusion at the end of this year as departments are under-spending their budgets as requested by the BOS.

Model pointed to challenges on the horizon, including a change in the high school assessment ratio that could cost Carlisle an additional $2.5 million over three years. “We’re going to have to figure out how to do that.” He pointed to the proposed superintendency union and suggested that “structural discussion must continue” and include other departments. Alternative sources of revenue and sharing of resources between departments may also be pursued.

Hearing no questions from the audience, the hearing concluded. CCTV will broadcast it on cable channel 9 on May 2 at 8 a.m., May 3 at 4 p.m. and May 4 at 2 p.m. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito