By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough –Property taxes will go up just over 3 percent for fiscal year (FY) 2013 if the town's proposed budget is approved by voters at Town Meeting. Town Manager Jim Malloy presented the Board of Selectmen with an overview of the entire budget at the board's meeting Jan. 10.
This year Westborough's Annual Town Meeting (ATM) will be held Saturday, March 17, (instead of the traditional May date). To have the proposed budget ready in time for ATM, Malloy, the Advisory Finance Committee, and department chairs have recently been working on the FY 2013 budget.
The town's FY 2013 budget is projected at $94 million, an increase of $3.2 million, or 3.6 percent, Malloy said. The property tax estimate is $63 million, an increase of $1.9 million, or 3.1 percent. The current projections show that there will be approximately $1.4 million in excess levy capacity, he added.
There are three major increased expenditures in the budget, Malloy said: insurance – $526,100; debt service – $1,006,643; and the school department – $1,300,056.
$287,498 is projected in decreased expenditures. $99,437 of that is the elimination of three Building and Grounds employees. Malloy has proposed cutting those positions and, instead, hiring two 10-hour per week assistants to work with the Building and Grounds supervisor.
Contrary to what some taxpayers think, Malloy said, the number of town employees has not gone up in past years; rather, he said, it has actually decreased by approximately two people each year over the past decade, primarily in the schools.
Kristi Williams, the town's assistant manager, presented a proposal to the board on the FY 2013 capital needs budget. $777,300 is being requested, she said, for items that include: $190,000 for a new ambulance and $69,500 for a Hurst Tool (Jaws of Life apparatus) for the Fire Department; $88,000 for two new police cruisers; and $363,000 for various Department of Public Works items, including $125,000 for a new truck to replace a 1985 Mack 10-wheeler.
Another article of note is a proposal from the Planning Board to change the zoning bylaws in the downtown district.
As the warrant stands now, there are 26 articles, although the school department will be requesting an additional one relating to renovations needed at the Sarah W. Gibbons Middle School, Malloy said.
The warrant will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 14. The complete budget proposal can be found on the town's website, http://www.town.westborough.ma.us/Public_Documents/WestboroughMA_Manager/index.