By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Mayor Arthur Vigeant presented the 2015 budget to the City Council at the May 5 meeting, requesting $137.4 million, an increase of just under four percent over the current level of $132.1 million. If approved it could increase annual real estate tax bills by approximately $145 for the average home.
An increase in the school department budget by 4.5 percent and the addition of two city employees account for the increase, the mayor told councilors, emphasizing that the budget recommendations were due to a collaborative effort of the finance team and each of the city's department heads. Councilors approved the two new positions – a finance official in the Department of Public Works (DPW) and one to share responsibilities of the Collector of Taxes and Comptroller-Treasurer.
“Budgets are a reflection of not only the fiscal reality around us but of our priorities and values as a community,” Vigeant said, explaining the increase in the School Department budget. “Superintendent Richard Langlois and his team have been working diligently on implementing many changes and reforms throughout our school system.”
One recent success, he noted was the receipt of a four-year $1.8 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“The grant will help students develop career skills needed in today's workforce, particularly in the areas of engineering, advanced manufacturing and computer technology, and health sciences,” Vigeant said.
The mayor also included a recommendation for proactive investments to address the increasing demand of building and health inspections. The $10,000 in additional funding for the deputy inspector will fund essential coverage and prompt customer service during times of higher permitting requests and vacations or extended absences, he said. Essential funds to assist in food establishment and restaurant inspections as required by state and federal health regulations have also been included in the budget.
The Finance Committee, chaired by Councilor Michael Ossing, is reviewing the document and will finalize recommendations to the full council prior to the public hearing scheduled for Monday, May 19.? Final action by the council is required by June 15, according to City Solicitor Donald V. Rider Jr.