By Drew M. Bailey, Community Reporter
The capital budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 is the first year of Northborough's Capital Improvement Program (CIP), a six-year strategy proposing expenditures to be voted on at yearly Town Meetings.
The capital purchases proposed for the FY 2013 budget include the replacement of aging town vehicles; the federally mandated purchase of a new radio system for police, fire, and Department of Public Works; repairs and renovation of town offices, Lincoln Street School, and Melican Middle School; replacement of the track at Ellsworth McAfee Park; and the purchase of a portable emergency generator.
The total cost of these purchases is $3.1 million, of which $260,000 will be derived from bonds paid by Northborough residents’ taxes. The majority of the budget will be funded by a variety of sources include the town's Free Cash, grants, bonds, donations and funds.
Free Cash, the fund set aside for capital projects and expenditures in the yearly budgeting process, will contribute $615,000 from its $1.86 million pool, while repurposed bonds will pay for $1.1 million of the purchases. Repurposed bonds are the result of bonded projects completed under budget, of which the town has had a surplus that has not been tapped for some time. Coderre noted that following its use in FY 2013 and the implementation of a more systematic policy for using excess funds in a timely fashion, repurposed bonds would be a much smaller available resource.
The CIP and capital budget are part of a plan spearheaded by Coderre to move away from incurring debt for one-time expenditures. He emphasized the need to insure that recurring expenses are paid for with recurring capital, and one-time expenses are paid for with available cash.
Although the CIP presents a long-term plan for capital spending, Coderre was careful to point out that town resources are allocated for each fiscal year, not before, and not all items listed in the CIP will be purchased. An example is the proposed Wind Turbine Project, which was allocated $4.5 million for FY 2014, but after a study by the town's Wind Committee, was found to be financially impractical.
Board of Selectmen Chair Jeff Amberson lauded Coderre's efforts.
“We’re staying current…We’re not putting things off,” he said.
Selectman Dawn Rand agreed.
“It's nice to see we are getting things done without taxing the people of Northborough,” she said.