Budget Has Increase for Schools, Town and $2 Million Shortfall

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The good news in the Fiscal 2016 budget is the increases for schools and town departments, and the bad news is the town must find more than $2 million by April to fund the budget.

Town Manager Michael Driscoll unveiled the preliminary budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015 at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. The budget includes $119.08 million, which is $5.6 million and 4.7 percent more than the current fiscal year.

“We have two issues – a challenge of $2.085 million and we have got to submit a balance budget in April,” Driscoll said. “Either revenues can go up or expenditures can go down – or a combination of the two.”

While the town faces a shortfall, Driscoll said he used conservative projections when drafting it. He sees areas where more money could be headed Watertown’s way – as they have in prior years.

“With compliments to our state legislatures who were able to increase state aid $600,000 from Fiscal ’14 to ’15. However, we should be more prudent, more conservative and budget for state aid to be level,” Driscoll said. “I certainly hope it won’t be.”

The budget includes a 5 percent increase for education and 2.5 percent in municipal departments. Here are some of the details:

  • A $1.96 million increase in the education budget for a total of $41.2 million
  • Public safety – Police and Fire departments – would get $16.4 million – up $400,000
  • The Watertown Free Public Library will get $2.55 million, $62,000 more than Fiscal 2015
  • Public works will receive a $121,000 increase for a total of $4.98 million
  • The Recreation Department budget will rise $16,000 up to $647,000

Here are some of the big changes in the revenues for Fiscal 2016

  • The budget calls for a $4 million boost in real estate and personal property taxes
  • Local receipts are projected to drop $1.3 million,
  • Those included a $623,000 drop in motor vehicle excise taxes and $173,00 less in parking tickets and fees

The preliminary budget is the first step in toward the presentation of the official budget in April and the adoption of the budget in June. The next step is for the Town Council to create budget guidelines and priorities for Fiscal 2016.

Two meetings of the Budget and Fiscal Oversight subcommittee will held on Nov. 17 and 24, said Councilor Vincent Piccirilli. The guidelines will be presented at the Dec. 9 Town Council meeting.

One thought on “Budget Has Increase for Schools, Town and $2 Million Shortfall

  1. It seems to me that the budget is out of wack. They raise money for schools,
    public works, etc., etc., without any known income – & just project a $4 million
    increase for the taxes for the property owners. This does not look well for
    residents living on tight income. That is not the way to run a town/city!!!!!!!!

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