By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Town Manager Kevin Mizikar presented his initial FY2019 budget of $140,807,922 to the Board of Selectmen at their Feb. 13 meeting. This budget is more than $12 million greater than FY2018.
The operating budget comes in at $122,098,941 million and represents a 1.69-percent increase over the current fiscal year. This budget is, for the most part, a level-serviced program.
“This provides $1.5 million in funding increase for the school department which is certainly not enough to meet the superintendent’s initial proposal, but we will work together in finding additional funding if it becomes available…,” Mizikar said. “I know that the superintendent will be looking for ways to lower his request through the budget process.
“As far as municipal staffing goes we are proposing to increase by one additional full-time police officer and a full-time position within the building inspector’s department,” Mizikar added.
The budget included an investment in infrastructure of over $10 million in water and sewer projects with most coming from a $6.5 million request for the Route 20 sewer connection with the city of Worcester.
Mizikar noted that the budget also provides for a capital improvement plan of $1.6 million to fund non-infrastructure projects, improvements to buildings and one-time funded services. He also said that he looks forward to working with the board, the Finance Committee and members of the community in finalizing the budget for Town Meeting in May.
“Regarding the [sewer] connection to Worcester, what is the timing and is there reimbursement from the commonwealth?” asked Selectman Jim Kane. Mizikar responded that the commonwealth has provided a grant to Worcester but there is no reimbursement mechanism for Shrewsbury. Negotiations with Worcester are ongoing. The connection should be complete in 2019.
Selectman Maurice DePalo commended Mizikar on doing a great job coming up to speed so quickly on his first budget as Shrewsbury’s town manager.