Marlborough City Council approves Mayor’s recommended budget

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By Vicki Greene, Contributing Writer

Marlborough—The City Council approved Mayor Arthur Vigeant’s recommended $173 million budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 that goes into effect July 1 at its April 27 meeting.  The budget represents a 2.9 percent increase over the current FY 2020 budget.  The budget passed by 6 – 5 vote.

In Vigeant’s letter to the Council, he stressed that while many communities are holding off on their 2021 budgets due to “unknown local revenues and state aid” in the current FY 2020 year, he is “considering this a base and does not expect this to be a final product when we look back at FY 2021.”

According to Vigeant, the current state models show up to a four percent shortfall for in state aid for this year and as high as 15 percent for FY 2021.

“With our cash reserves and Rainy Day Fund, we have positioned ourselves for just this time,” Council President Michael Ossing said.  “We can absorb this if we have to.”

This budget includes a slight decrease in the FY 2021 residential tax rate for the average homeowner, according to Ossing.

The FY 2021 budget includes increases due to hiring for the new elementary school and a 4.2 percent increase in health insurance costs.  Vigeant said in his letter that several positions will be eliminated in the Building Department: a part-time local inspector/code enforcement hour and a 19-hour per week part-time senior clerk.

Ossing said the mayor may look at hiring and salary freezes as well as layoffs “depending on how things go this Fiscal Year.”

Vigeant plans to send his capital improvement plan to the Council “but it will not be as large as in previous years due to the impacts of COVID-19.”

The five Councilors who voted against approval of the budget all said they wouldn’t change anything in the budget but thought they should allow more time for the public to review the document and hold a public hearing moving a vote to Monday, May 18.  According to Ossing, the state does not mandate a public hearing to approve the budget.

“Marlborough continues to have the lowest residential tax rate among all neighboring communities,” Ossing said.  The city is currently planning to continue with no fees for services including beach use, trash, recycling, school buses and sports.