Hudson Board of Selectmen approve FY12 budget

Hudson – The Hudson Board of Selectmen approved the fiscal year 2012 budget at its Dec. 20 meeting. The selectmen have approved the town’s 2012 budget, which will total $16.2 million (for the line items approved during the meeting). Line items include debt servicing at $5.3 million; retirement at $3.6 million and health insurance of $3.5 million.

Executive Assistant Paul Blazar explained some of the increases from the previous year’s budget. “The cost of employee benefits continues to rise,” he said, “though we are expecting no increase in health spending.”

State aid is also down, Blazar said, noting 2008 as the high point in state funds at nearly $2.5 million. State aid was down in 2009 to about $2.25 million, and less than $2 million in 2010. The town budget for 2011 and 2012 are predicting similar reductions.

“The balance of revenue sources continues to shift to local taxes and receipts and away from state support,” Blazar said. The tax levy will stay near its limit, leaving little excess capacity, and tax rates are expected to rise with stagnant or decreasing property values.

Several other significant line items were approved by the board as well, including general insurance at $752,561; the Finance Department/IT with a budget of $685,007; and the library at $675,533.

The day-to-day operations of the town cost nearly $886,000 a year with the selectmen’s budget at $13,585; the executive assistant $450,786; elections and town meetings $36,082; legal $160,000; town-owned buildings $215,607; and personnel at $9,753.

Veterans Aff airs received allocations of $110,984. “We are putting people who are veterans to work in this town,” Veterans Services Director Brian Stearns said. “We are seeing the largest increase in chapter 115 benefits. These are people who are working who otherwise would be drawing from the system.”

The Council on Aging, building inspections, Town Clerk’s Office and Board of Health rounded out the remaining $660,000 of the budget.

Reports to the board by town department heads showed no signifi cant changes in most budgets and the increases that did occur were due to state-mandated audits and increases in the town’s contribution to employee benefits.

Education increases have outstripped general government spending. The town of Hudson’s contribution to the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School increased due to increased enrollment of students from Hudson.

“Assabet is a big surprise, and not a pleasant surprise,” Blazar said. “I’m not sure how a 27 percent increase in enrollment equals a 36 percent increase in funding.”

The selectmen approved two contracts totaling $303,700. The first contract, to CN Wood Company of Woburn in the amount of $8,500, is for replacement parts for a 2001 Elgin street sweeper. The selectmen approved the second contract in the amount of $295,200 in Amendment #2 for Construction Administration and Resident Project Representation for the Rolling Lane Sewer Extension Project.

Other action taken by the board included renewal of 39 applications that met all requirements for 2011 licenses and approval of 23 prospective licenses for licensees who met all requirements for renewal by yearend. The selectmen reappointed board and committee members whose terms expire Friday, Dec. 31 and who expressed an interest in being reappointed; and accepted a resignation from a W-2 laborer from the Public Works Department.

The Board of Selectmen went into executive session at 7:40 p.m. to discuss “imminent litigation.”

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=8624

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