Sunday, February 22, 2009

FY2010 Budget

Based upon the agenda for tomorrow's (2/23/09) Select Board meeting, it appears that we will be getting a 15 minute review of the Town Manager's FY2010 Budget Report.

I would encourage Longmeadow residents to watch this discussion on LCTV at 7:15 PM. Update: The SB meeting on 2/23 will not be broadcast LIVE.

With only 15 minutes, I suspect that our town manager will only be able to review overall budget highlights. 15 minutes seems much too short a time for such an important topic so hopefully the SB chairman will extend this allocated time.

I am particularly interested in how this budget report handles the potential shortfall in revenue to cover the upcoming town employee collective agreements that are expiring at the end of the current FY2009 year. I'm guessing that the proposed balanced budget will not include any provision for possible town employee related salary increases for the FY2010 budget nor budget any funds in this direction or include any contingency plans.

The Longmeadow School Department proposed budget for FY2010 that was approved last week by the School Committee which was $83K less than the current FY2009 also did not provide for any teacher salary COLA increases. The SC did acknowledge that any teacher salary increases must be met with additional school department budget cutbacks in order to meet the FY2010 budget commitment to the Select Board.

I would expect that the Town Manager and Select Board also need to work out the details on how to fund the FY2009 revenue shortfalls before they can fully understand all of the revenue sources such as "free cash" and the operational stabilization fund for FY2010.

Everything that I read in the newspaper seems to suggest "a not to worry attitude" and that Longmeadow is much better off than the rest of the town and cities in Massachusetts. That attitude seems strange given all of the budget issues that we have faced during the past couple of years.

Stay tuned for an interesting budget season.

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