Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Southbridge’s Next Budget: A First Glance

Kenneth M. O’Brien

For those of you who live in town (i.e. for the most part those who don’t have a town job) the most important part of the Town Manager’s budget message was:

”On the revenue side of the equation for property tax, we anticipate using our full 2012 excess levy capacity as well as the allowable Proposition 2 ½ increase plus a modest $100,000 of new growth, which reflects in part the fiscal environment we find ourselves in. This increase is anticipated to be approximately 3.71%.”

That’s not just homeowners – those of you who rent will will ultimately pay for this too.

One remark that struck me as particularly interesting was that retirement costs increased by $91,833 due to a decline in the stock market. Who’s managing these funds? According to Scottrade, over the last 12 months the Dow Jones Industrial Average has grown by 12.4%.

It is also planned to have a 4% increase in sewer rates. The reason is that the demand is expected to decline! Yep, you heard correctly, we’re going to pay more because we are expected to use less. Why?

Well, it was discovered that there was a leak in the basement of one of the American Optical property buildings. As a result, the facility was being billed for this. Now, however, the leak has been found and fixed. Therefore, the lost revenues will have to be made up for by an across the board increase.

A more detailed analysis of the proposed budget is in the works, but just this was enough to remind me of the following anthem:

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