Selectmen receive report regarding FY 2011 town budget
Northborough – The theme at the Feb. 22 Board of Selectmen meeting, with regard to the Fiscal Year (FY)2011 town budget, was “sustainability.”
Town Administrator John Coderre led a discussion about how the town fared last year with its approach to the budget, and what the course of action will be for this year.
Coderre took time to highlight some of the progress made last year. The town was able to finish the year in the black; he said, thanks to various adjustments made, most importantly the adaptation of Section 18, which brought with it a new insurance plan for senior citizens that resulted in substantial savings.
“Last year was real difficult,” Coderre said, “and this year will be no diff erent.”
With local receipts on track and positive economic developments for the town in place, things are in relatively good shape considering the situation in other towns. But Coderre was quick to not give the impression the town is out of the woods.
“The recession may be over, but it is probable that the work for local government is only halfway through,” Coderre said. “It’s reasonable to assume that we will have three more years of bottoming out and leveling off . People need to be aware of this.”
Free cash and state aid are sure to be down this year, Coderre said. He explained to the selectmen that there would be a $100,000 drop in free cash, and a projected drop of 10 percent in state aid, possibly more. Level funding does not seem to be a reasonable expectation, according to the town administrator.
“There is no way state aid will be level funding,” Coderre said.
Among the steps to be considered to meet the budget concerns, Coderre stressed the importance of addressing the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, an issue the board has debated in depth for the last month. Coderre said he plans to maintain all cuts and mandates made last year, and look for other places to save the town money as well.
“We aren’t cutting any of the core services in town and acting financially responsible,” Coderre said.
The town’s top administrator also said that the town must understand the importance of sustainability to remain on solid footing in the years ahead, something that has made the recent economic struggle more manageable for Northborough.
“Whatever our decisions are, it has to be sustainable,” Coderre said. “Not just for fiscal 2011 but for years to come.”
In other news to come before the board at the Feb. 22 meeting, the Friends of the Northborough Dog Park made a presentation in the hope of bringing a fenced-in, off -leash dog park to town.
“We are looking to create a place where owners and dogs can socialize in a recreational and fun area,” Anthony Zitton, a member of the Friends of the Northborough Dog Park, said.
The proposed location is a section of Assabet Park. The plan is to have a fenced-in walkway to the designated area, away from the children’s playground. Six other areas were considered before Assabet, with approval from the Parks and Recreational Commission, was chosen as the preferred location.
The board recommended that Zitton expand the proposal to include more details about other possible locations, gather reaction to the proposed dog park from its neighbors, and develop a concrete plan to maintain the area.
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