By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – At the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen’s meeting Sept. 13 Town Manager Daniel Morgado presented figures used in planning the Fiscal Year 2017 town budget. The tax rate is estimated to be $12.82 as compared to the 2016 rate of $13 per $1,000 of property value. This is pending state Department of Revenue certification assuming the Monday, Sept. 26, Town Meeting authorizes proposed spending. Free cash is estimated to be $6.1 million. If adjusted by Special Town Meeting, the effective amount would be $5.6 million, a slight increase over 2016. The reserve percentage will be 7 percent, going into 2018. Adjusted free cash will be $5,596,000, larger than previous years and about equal to the 2012 amount.
Regarding 2017 revenue, 56 percent will come from town taxation; 21 percent from state aid; 11 percent from local receipts; and 12 percent from other funds. State aid, which has dropped since the financial problems of 2009, has climbed back to almost that year’s level. Local receipts include 38 percent from vehicle excise and $438,000 from local meals tax. However, local income lags previous years.
The biggest single town uncontrolled expense continues to be paying for town employee medical insurance and Medicare contributions. Existing and protected collective bargaining costs will need to be funded. Morgado mentioned that the board expects to see no reduction in capital improvement spending. In addition, Morgado noted there will be additional requests for school staffing and no decrease in school student population. A “real challenge,” he said, will be keeping a lid on school spending unless state aid is noticeably increased.
In other business, selectmen approved unanimously a petition from Broken Creek Vineyard, 614 South St., for an increase in hours at the Farmer Winery. They also approved a petition from Mirch Group, doing business as Chinese Mirch, 88-120 Boston Turnpike, for a Common Victualler License at their location. The company has operated a restaurant in White City for the past seven years. Billy’s Pub, 81 Clinton St., was not granted an entertainment license after the issue of construction problems and an occupancy permit hold-up was discussed by the board.
The hearing was instead unanimously continued to the Tuesday, Sept. 27 Board of Selectmen’s meeting.