Monday, February 23, 2009

FY2010 Budget Presentation/ 2-23-09 SB meeting

Because tonight's Select Board meeting was not be televised live on LCTV, I decided to attend to hear Robin Crosbie/ Town Manager review the FY2010 budget. A few copies of her presentation were handled out and I have asked for a copy (as well as a copy of the full budget report) to post on the website.

Note: Because the schedule called for live broadcast of the School Committee meeting, LCTV videotaped tonight's meeting for broadcast later this week.

The General Fund FY10 budget recommendation by the Town Manager is:

Total- $47,111,554 - an increase of $478K or 1.0% increase from FY09
School Dept- $28,452,158- an increase of $331K or 1.2% increase from FY09

[note: This increase in the School Dept budget varies from the $83K drop reported at the School Budget forum because this budget number is for the General Fund expenditures only. The total School Dept budget for FY10 as proposed at the forum is $31,239,338- which includes General Fund + other special school department revenues]

Here are some additional highlights from the TM's presentation...
  • The FY10 budget is revenue based.
  • The FY10 budget is balanced using current Free Cash
  • Some unanticipated FY09 shortfalls (excess snow/ice removal costs + lower than expected revenue from excise taxes and investment income) affected the available free cash to be used to fund the FY10 budget.
  • The budget is based upon the most recent revenue and state aid estimates which could easily change (--> lower) in the future.
  • No cost of living adjustments (school or town) are included with the proposed budget. With town employee and school department teachers contracts expiring in June and August, there is a potential increase in overall costs of $300,000/ % increase in COLA.
  • In spite of our recycling efforts, the cost of curbside waste collection is projected to increase by $46K in FY2010 ( a 6.4% increase) mostly because of the reduced value and revenue (-$43K) of recyclable materials.
  • The Longmeadow School Dept budget as provided to the Town Manager was cut by $117K (FY10 requested = $28,569,837 vs. FY10 Recommended = $28,452,152).
  • The planned capital allocation for FY10 was cut from $940,000 (2% of operating budget) to $831,311, a cut of $109,000. (Capital is not included as part of the operating budget.)

I was glad that the Select Board decided to spend more than the allocated 15 minutes (actually close to one hour) to listen to the TM's presentation and to ask questions about the budget. Paul Santaniello, SB chair indicated that this will be the first of a number of discussions over the next three weeks to finalize the budget for presentation at the Annual Town Meeting.

Overall, a good start by the Town Manager to a difficult budget process.

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