By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Seventeen items were scheduled for the April 17 Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting. Town finances took up the plurality of the time. Town Manager Daniel Morgado gave a PowerPoint presentation of the town's Fiscal Projections, Version 2, for fiscal year (FY) 2013. This report demonstrated the changes from the first version, presented in January. Overall, town finances have tightened. Categories discussed included Revenues, Charges to the Town, Budget Reductions, and Additional Spending considerations, with town schools and public safety showing the largest changes.
Revenue estimates included State Aid, Waste Enterprises, Retained Earnings, Sewer Surplus, Water System Improvements, Account Transfers, Sale of Property, and CATV Revenue dropped by $142,649.
Town Charges including State and County Aid, FY 2010 Deficits, Solid Waste Enterprises, Library Improvements, a new police cruiser, and Street Reconstruction costs increased by $56,224 over the January estimate.
Some good news was had, however, regarding Budget Reductions. When Public Buildings, the Sewer Department, Town Employee Health Insurance and Medicare, and Gasoline and Oil were totaled, the town is now looking at a savings of $1,413, 254 over the January estimate.
Unfortunately, Additional Spending Considerations more than erased Budget Reductions. These spending considerations included the Fire Department, the Town Treasurer's Office, The School Department, Town Police, Capital Projects, Road Drains, a Reduction in Free Cash, and the OPEB (other post-employment benefits). With the Fire Department accounting for an additional $231,575, the School Department accounting for $844,949 (to get to the total of $50,435,765 for FY 2013), and Capital Projects expenditures racking up an additional $807,120, the total in Additional Spending over the January estimate was $2,942, 662.
The discussion then turned to possible ways to deal with the increase in outlays for the town. It became clear early in the discussion that the BOS believes public safety should get the highest priority in making budget decisions, with Morgado remarking that even though town public safety had to deal with town personnel being mobilized members of the Guard and Reserves, that the town needed to continue to honor their service. The discussion continued, with many possibilities being offered. In the end, the board moved, and accepted in a 3-1 vote, to include the following actions: add four new fire fighters at $ 55,500/each; add to extra expenses in the Treasurer's Office $10,000; add extra Fire Station Clerical help at $11,515; add $1,261 for the Council on Aging; add $261 for the Veterans” Agent; add one additional Police Patrolman for $57,400; reduce Free Cash by $316,944; and add $200,000 to the OPEB trust.