UPDATE: This article has been updated with a comment from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School Superintendent-Director Ernest Houle discussing the degree of communication around Marlborough’s contributions to this year’s Assabet budget.
MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant has proposed a roughly $181.26 million budget for the 2023 fiscal year, marking a 4.18% increase over the 2022 budget.
The 2022 budget had previously resulted in no increase over 2021’s budget.
Now, Vigeant said, increased staffing needs combined with rising fuel and utility costs are driving a necessary increase.
“We’ve put together a conservative budget proposal,” Vigeant wrote in a letter to the City Council presenting his proposal.
Increase in enrollment drives proposed school budget increase
The school department, which represents the largest individual component of the larger city budget, is seeing a proposed 4.24% increase in funding.
That, Vigeant said, is due to a large increase in the number of students in the district.
As he pitched this plan for the Marlborough Public Schools, the mayor said his team had reached out “numerous times” to Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School to obtain a formal letter estimating Marlborough’s contribution to Assabet’s regional district budget.
“We haven’t received anything,” Vigeant wrote, however.
Vigeant cited “preliminary calculations from Assabet” to estimate a .07% increase in next year’s contribution.
Contacted on May 7, Assabet Superintendent-Director Ernest Houle told the Community Advocate that “what was reported in regards to the City of Marlborough not being informed of Assabet Valley RVSD’s FY23 Budget was inaccurate.”
“Marlborough, along with our other six member communities all were properly informed about Assabet’s FY23 Budget, along with each community’s operational and capital assessment for fiscal year 2023,” Houle wrote in an email.
Assessor’s office, Inspectional Services get budget increases under proposal
Vigeant’s proposal calls for a 20% increase in the Assessor’s office’s budget as that department seeks to restructure.
Inspectional Services, meanwhile, would get a roughly 30% increase driven, in part, by the addition of a new Principal Clerk and the increase of a contracted services line item.
Foot traffic in the Inspectional Services office remains high as the department prepares to introduce a new online permitting program, Vigeant wrote.
“Marlborough continues to be a highly sought after location for developers,” he added, noting that building permit revenues have jumped by more than 60% over the past nine months compared to FY2020.
IT department may add new admin position
Marlborough’s IT department could see a 12% increase in its budget as it looks to add an additional administrative position.
That new role would augment what Vigeant described as a “larger emphasis on security,” within the department, involving new cameras on buildings and strengthened cyber security strategies.
“This added responsibility has made it difficult to fulfill daily administrative tasks,” Vigeant wrote.
City expects increase in state aid, local revenues
As the budget process moves forward, the city is expecting an increase in state aid of just under $6.5 million in the 2023 fiscal year.
New growth in Marlborough, likewise, may add $2 million in additional local tax revenue, Vigeant said, which “will help stabilize our tax rate for residents.”
The City Council referred the budget proposal to the Finance Committee at its meeting on Monday.
The Finance Committee has public hearings scheduled for May 2 and 4.
Vigeant’s full budget proposal is available online at https://www.marlborough-ma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif7576/f/agendas/fy23_budget.pdf.