Rating favorable for budget cycles
By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – For the second year in a row, the town of Shrewsbury has received a AAA bond (credit) rating from Standard and Poor’s Global Rating Services. Town Manager Kevin Mizikar told the Board of Selectmen at the Jan 12 meeting that the AAA rating will favorably impact future budget cycles. He also discussed the fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget as well as the process for hiring a new Town Clerk.
According to Standard and Poor’s, Shrewsbury was given a AAA rating because of “…very strong budgetary reserves and flexibility and well embedded financial management policies, particularly in the areas of budgeting and planning, which should mitigate any significant credit deterioration throughout the pandemic…”
Savings for municipal projects
The Board unanimously voted to approve bonds associated with the construction of the new Police Station and Public Safety Radio system project.
The AAA credit rating will enable the town to save $2,089,639 on 90 percent of the cost of the new Police Station complex that was projected at $44,527,163, according to Mizikar. The savings will have a direct impact to taxpayers by lowering tax rates.
Mizikar noted that the town will also be able to refinance the new Beal Elementary School bringing further savings to taxpayers.
FY2022 budget preparation
Mizikar is bound by town bylaws to provide a balanced budget 60 days prior to the start of the Annual Town Meeting, which is slated for Monday, May 17.
Mizikar said that he had originally planned to produce the budget on March 9 but that did not meet the parameters, so it will be moved up to the Board’s Feb. 16 meeting.
Key dates of his revised timeline begin on Jan. 26 when he will provide “a quick snapshot” of departmental budget requests needed for level services in FY2022.
“That will give us an initial look at cuts that we may need to make on the town side,” he said.
A preliminary budget review will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 9 followed by a more comprehensive review on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The Finance Committee will then hold a public hearing in March.
Process for hiring new Town Clerk
After 11 years as Town Clerk, Sandra Wright will be retiring at the end of February.
The town will first post the position internally with the Board then interviewing those candidates in an executive session. They will then determine if they need to post the position externally.