By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Mayor Arthur Vigeant presented his proposed 2017 budget to the city council at the May 9 meeting, requesting $149.8 million which is just under 5 percent higher than last year’s budget.
“The main driver of the increase this year is the payments on debt service which has been anticipated for a number of years,” the mayor said. The major components are the upgrades to the Easterly and Westerly treatment plants and the Millham Water Treatment Plant, he said. An additional $1,355,988 for the initial principal payment for the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School project also contributed to the debt service requirement.
Among the items and expenses, Vigeant noted, is the new Senior Center where programs have increased by about 1,000 additional members since the center opened. Due to the sizeable increase in use, Director Patricia Pope and the mayor are recommending changing the part-time program coordinator position to full-time.
Other programs adding to the increase in the budget are the construction of the city’s first turf field at 1st Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School, additional staff in the building department, changes in the funding of the information technology department, and a 6-percent increase in the city’s health insurance costs
“Due to ongoing negotiations with several city unions, many salary accounts are level-funded, pending completion of negotiations,” said Vigeant. “Funds have been allocated to the salary reserve account to fund any agreed-upon salary increases and retirements.”
He stressed his continued striving for public safety and his future plans to add personnel to ensure the police and fire departments have personnel needed to keep Marlborough safe. Fire Chief Kevin Breen is requesting a new fire prevention officer position be created and implementing a training officer position to oversee training programs.
The budget was referred to the Finance Committee for study and recommendation to the full council.