WESTBOROUGH – As the town prepares its budget for fiscal 2025, several prospective budget items are becoming the center of attention.
During a combined meeting with the Select Board, School Committee and Advisory Finance Committee on Sept. 21, Town Manager Kristi Williams presented what she called “the first step” in the process for the fiscal 2025 budget.
Among the possible items for fiscal 2025 – the community center. Earlier this month, town officials unveiled a proposal to purchase the building at Bay State Commons that’s currently home to the Boston Sports Clubs.
The purchase price, $8.8 million, would be covered with a 20-year bond at 5% annual interest.
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Should the purchase be approved at fall Town Meeting on Monday, Oct. 16, the town will embark on a process to conceptualize the fit-up of the building and then to design it. According to Williams, the construction costs could come before Town Meeting in the fall of 2024.
In addition to the building, Williams anticipates additional personnel should the center be approved – a community center director (Recreation Department, estimated salary $65,000); custodian (Department of Public Works, estimated salary $50,000); and an increase to the program and volunteer coordinator’s hours from 25 to 40 (senior center, estimated increase of $23,400).
Details on the proposed center’s operating expenses were scheduled to be presented at the Select Board’s meeting on Sept. 26.
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The Planning Department is asking for $68,000 to hire a transportation planner, who would handle traffic, pedestrian safety and other issues.
The Finance Department is requesting $99,780 to hire a town accountant.
Information Technology would like to increase the hours for the GIS administrator from 19 to 40 hours per week and support IT operations; the request would be for $48,864.
According to Williams, the town is still working with E.L. Harvey & Sons/Waste Connections on keeping the transfer station open to the public.
Earlier this year, Waste Connections announced it was closing public access to the transfer station after June 30, 2024. The town began considering curbside recycling when Waste Connections announced it would keep the transfer station open, with conditions.