Shrewsbury selectmen set policy for next fiscal year
Shrewsbury – At the top of the policy statement discussed by the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen (BOS) at its Oct. 9 meeting is the assertion that the board will not seek a Proposition 2 ½ override during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Instead, Town Manager Daniel Morgado urged the selectmen to ensure that budget recommendations from the BOS stay within the town’s existing levy limit. The exception would be an article on the 2013 Annual Town Meeting warrant to pay for an unanticipated disaster or state of emergency.
Selectman John Lebeaux noted that as he is seeing more and more town residents out of work, he felt that the very idea of a Prop. 2 ½ override was unlikely to be met with much enthusiasm by voters.
Two other topics discussed dealt with maintaining the town’s favorable AA2 bond rating and properly managing debt. Morgado suggested the town strive to reach a reserve balance goal of 6.5 percent of the total operating budget, which would compare favorably to the reserve balance of between 5.6 percent and 6.2 percent for the period of 2009 – 2012. In addition, he recommended that the fund balance not be allowed to drop below $250,000.
Regarding managing debt, Morgado recommended that long-term debt be used only for long-term significant infrastructure or capital projects and not for any recurring small capital expenditures with a short useful life. In any case, he urged that long-term debt not be used to finance current operations. He also recommended is that the town use special assessment or revenues to fund general obligation bonds like those used to pay for town utilities.
He also recommended maintaining a single tax rate in town; keeping town water as a self-supporting utility; and including in the budget sufficient funding to meet the requirements of the town’s pension system.
The board voted 5 – 0 to accept Morgado’s recommendations.
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