The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 12, 2010

Finance Committee readies FY11 budget recommendations

Carlisle Finance Director Larry Barton had his laptop hooked up to a projector and Finance Committee (FinCom) members were greeted with the proposed FY11 budget lighting up one wall of the Heald Room when they convened for their March 1 meeting. During the next two hours, Barton played the keyboard like a concert pianist while the commission manipulated the numbers up and down. When the last keystroke sounded and dollars stopped flickering on the wall, FinCom’s FY11 budget was balanced and ready for submission to the Board of Selectmen.

The challenge was formidable. Requests above the FY11 guideline budget totaled a whopping $822K and before the evening was over, FinCom had to reduce that number to zero. Included in this number is the 2% Cost-Of-Living Allowance (COLA) not accounted for in the original guideline budget. The new fire truck requested by Fire Chief David Flannery contributed $410K to the overage and was removed from the operating budget and relegated to Warrant Article debt. That left $412K, which is no small number, but offered a glimmer of hope to the beleaguered commission.

The certified Free Cash balance as of July 1, 2009, was $1,349,080. FinCom felt comfortable using approximately $321K of that amount toward balancing the levy limit budget. Already accounting for a sizable portion of the $321K is a $75K transfer to the Stabilization Fund and $150K for the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District FY11 assessment appropriation. That leaves about $96K to be applied to operating budget overruns. In addition, it was noted that there remained available levy-limit capacity created by department budgets that came in below the guideline.

FinCom members identified $280K in requests over guideline that will be included in the FY11 levy limit budget. In addition to the $150K for the High School, they included $35K for Police, $10K for the Fire Department, $11K for Communications, $32K for the Library and $20K for fire cisterns.

Not approved in the FY11 levy limit budget was $131K in over-budget requests. The largest of these was the Administrative Coordinator’s salary of $50K, which may be picked up by Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. Among other requests above guideline that were not included were $6K of additional funding for the Police Department, $23K for the Fire Department, $9K for Conservation Commission wages, $5.5K of step increases for the Library and Board of Health and $34K of Long-Term Caps.

The final numbers on the wall showed a total FY11 balanced levy limit budget of $23,918,118 with a remaining Free Cash balance of $1,027,690. This will be presented to the Board of Selectmen at its March 9 meeting, which may result in further changes. ∆

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