Balanced budgets for TM

May 16, 2019 by

Published May 16, 2019

By MAUREEN DOHERTY

NORTH READING — The Select Board will hold its informational hearings Monday night, May 20 during which the public is invited to attend and ask questions about any of the 28 warrant articles slated for June Town Meeting.

The informational hearings will begin at 8 p.m. in Room 14 at Town Hall. A complete list is published elsewhere in today’s Transcript. Town Meeting warrants booklets will also be mailed to all residential addresses in advance of Town Meeting and voters should bring their copy with them.

This year’s annual Town Meeting will be held on the second Monday of the month, June 10, at 7 p.m. in the Daniel H. Shay Performing Arts Center at NRHS.

At the May 6 Select Board meeting, the members unanimously voted to recommend passage of Articles 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 26 and 29.

The board also voted unanimously to make their recommendations at Town Meeting on Articles 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 14, 17, 21, 22, 25, 27 and 28.

This was the last meeting at which retiring members Bob Mauceri and Mike Prisco voted as they had participated in all of the meetings during which the department heads presented their budget requests.

All budgets balance

After months of analysis of the town’s finances by the town’s Finance Department, headed by Liz Rourke and Town Administrator Mike Gilleberto, in consultation with the Financial Planning Team (FPT) which is represented by members from the schools, municipal government, Finance Committee and elected officials, the budget requests of all department heads were evaluated and agreement was reached by the Select Board to endorse the recommended total operating budget of $70,505,134 for Fiscal Year 2020.

Rourke explained to the board that the town’s fixed costs for FY20 will be $21,797,117, or 30.92% of available revenues.

Of the $48,708,017 remaining, the percentage of the split between the schools and municipal budgets in FY20 will be 66.88% for the schools and 33.11% for municipal expenses.

That means the school department’s budget will be $31,757,773 or 45.04% of available revenues while the municipal budget will be $16,950,244 or 24.04% of available revenues.

The operating budget will be Article 15 on the warrant.

The School Committee endorsed its share of the budget unanimously on April 29.

It was announced May 8 that the town’s share of Chapter 90 highway funds, voted unanimously by the House it its budget, is set at $516,073. This figure was baked into the anticipated budget revenues the DPW had factored into its plans to improve the town’s roads. The Chapter 90 bond bill is awaiting Senate action. Town voters will be asked under Article 13 to accept the funds for highway construction purposes.

Capital Improvements

Under Article 16 the town’s voters will be asked to approve a total of $4,236,257 in capital improvements, as recommended by the town’s Capital Improvement Planning Committee (CIPC).

These capital expenditures will be funded by a variety of identified sources, including Free Cash, Capital Stabilization funds, bonding, retained earnings and the various Enterprise Funds or bonding mechanisms (Hillview, Parks and Rec, Water or Ambulance).

The CIPC members who prepared the FY20 budget are Chairman Donald Kelliher of the Finance Committee with Liz Rourke serving as vice chair and Select Board member Andy Schultz as clerk, along with Gilleberto, Prisco, FinCom Chair Abby Hurlbut, Joe Foti, School Department Director of Finance and Operations Michael Connelly and School Committee member Dyana Boutwell.

Items to be funded with Free Cash include: DPW roadway restoration- engineering ($600,000); turnout gear replacement for the Fire Dept.($85,792); computer replacements for IT ($35,000); all-wheel drive SUV for the vehicle pool ($43,000); SPED van replacement for schools ($45,000); simulator system for the police ($94,662); electronic systems upgrades for fire and intrusion alarms Little, Hood ($30,000); stormwater compliance for DPW ($50,000); Central St. sidewalk design, phase I: ($41,500); document management for IT ($115,000 total but $56,000 from Free Cash); computer devices 1:1 schools ($60,000).

Items to be bonded include: DPW roadway restoration ($600,000); upper Elm St. design/construction ($325,000); DPW — replace 2000 GVW dump truck ($200,000) and replace F350 dump truck ($90,000); asbestos abatement, Town Hall, Damon Tavern, Senior Center ($117,300); replace Rescue 2 ($361,178 – paid by ambulance receipts/reserve fund); library clapboard repairs ($176,525); Phase 1, DPW garage interior renovations ($48,300); greens mower, Hillview enterprise ($50,000).

Parks and Rec: replace outer walkways ($50,000 – retained earnings) and Water Dept. water main replacements ($1,148,000 — water enterprise bond).

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