Northborough selectmen meet with Appropriations Committee

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By Seth Stutman Community Reporter

Northborough – The Northborough Board of Selectmen held a joint public hearing March 28 with the Appropriations Committee as they began their preparations for the Annual Town Meeting to be held April 25.

Town Administrator John Coderre began the meeting by presenting the fiscal year 2012 proposed budget.

” I enjoy it [ discussing budgets] because the town of Northborough is in very good shape,” he said, “and who doesn's like to talk about positive news?”

Coderre said that despite further cuts in state aid, Northborough met its goals of maintaining levels of services for departments such as the town library and family services, while still tackling issues such as solid waste and dealing with an increase in health insurance costs.

Tax receipts are up 5.58 percent, which increased revenue by a little over $2 million. This is due largely to new growth, which brought $ 38 million to the town, Coderre said. However, that growth was countered by a decrease in state aid of 5.83 percent, or $268,275.

Despite the cut in aid, which accounts for 10 percent of the budget, concessions and prudent financial planning helped keep Northborough prosperous, Coderre said.

“[We'se shown] positive economic development and [held] back our spending,” he added, “and that's why we'se okay.”

Tax dollars account for approximately 80 percent of the town's revenue with the majority slated for education. Northborough's K-8 schools arefacinga4percentincrease ($717,301) based on higher attendance and budgetary needs, bringing its budget to $18,7 million. At Algonquin Regional High School, a 1.57 percent increase in attendance means that the school's budget will increase by only .5 percent, or $121,192, to $7.8 million. Costs for Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School will decrease 24 percent (or $163,348), based principally on enrollment.

Coderre lauded town employees for respecting the town's budgetary concerns when approaching the bargaining table.

In other business, Town Planner Kathy Joubert discussed with the board a request the Community Preservation Committee will make at Town Meeting. The committee is requesting roughly $700,000 from Community Preservation funds for projects around town such as restoring the Church Street Bridge and replacing the Jersey barriers with stonework that matches the other side of that bridge.