By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury has profited from an increase in town funding and the School Department has asked for most of it.
At their April 26 regular meeting, a revised report on town finances was presented by Town Manager Daniel Morgado. Net revenues and charges have increased by $1,738,741 from what was filed in January. Revenues have increased by $858,355 while changes in charges have added an additional $880,386. The majority of this financial change – $1,295,238 – has been requested by the School Department. This increases the amount of money requested by the School Department to $60,407,383 from the original budget filing of $59,112,145. This is a 3.34 percent increase from FY2016.
The board fully supported the school demand, but questioned what to do with the remaining $880,000. Selectman James Kane stated that he is leery of spending the balance on new personnel and recommended putting it toward a new front-end loader and Fire Department ATV, with the rest going to free cash or reserves. Chair Moira Miller agreed with the extra school funding but wanted some money put toward one or two new police officers. She noted that free cash is the lowest percent of the budget since 2009.
Kane recommended that the town spend some of the extra money on current plant service for the schools this and next year. Morgado noted that this work will require some digging so that could be an opportunity to do more work. Selectman Maurice DePalo also agreed with the higher school budget and that the police department needs more manpower.
“Even with more new-hire trainees, we are still short of police officers,” he said. “I want to see at least one new hire and I’d take a more conservative approach with the capital spending.”
He suggested that the town replace the pickup used for firefighting and put the rest of the money in free cash.
After further discussion, selectman came to an agreement and passed a motion to use the money on temporary paving work at the schools, $185,000 on a front-end loader, $53,000 for a pickup truck, and keep the remaining money (approximately $205,000) as free cash or reserves.