By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Marlborough resident Paul Brodeur spoke in disfavor to the Mayor’s Fiscal 2016 budget at a public hearing held at the May 18 City Council meeting, citing an alarming increase in violent crime.
“I don’t see anything in the current budget that addresses the serious issue of crime in Marlborough, nor have I seen anyone on the council who has addressed the issue in any way,” he said, reading from a prepared statement.
He referred to a real estate website that “gives Marlborough a crime index of 35, meaning that 65 percent of American cities and towns are safer than Marlborough.”
Mayor Arthur Vigeant presented the $143.2 million budget to the City Council at the May 4 meeting. It is currently under study by the Finance Committee.
The only resident speaking in favor of the budget during the public hearing was Katherine Hennessey, a School Committee member, who said: “I appreciate that we are here to work together and to be as collaborative as possible in support of our students and schools.”
She said the budget increase will help to continue the operation of the STEM program and help keep pace with changing demographics.
Vigeant allocated a 5.1-percent overall increase and a 4.5-percent increase in the School Department operating budget over FY15.
“Since FY12 through today’s proposed figures, our investment in our Marlborough public schools has been a 24-percent increase which is a clear testament to the education of our children,” he said.
Contributing to the mayor’s overall increase is a 7.3-percent increase in Marlborough’s share of operational costs for the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, and a 5-percent increase in the price of water from the Mass. Water Resources Authority. Other proposals include a part-time janitor for the Council on Aging’s new senior center and a new position – a part-time community events coordinator who will work cohesively with the city’s Recreation Department.
Members of the Finance Committee, chaired by Michael Ossing, are proposing a $500,000 cut to the budget, establishing a $142.7 million proposal. They will present their recommendation to the full council at the June 1 meeting.