The petitioners’ of article 4 and 5 would like to thank all citizens for thoughtful consideration of the articles. We were encouraged by the informed and respectful debate on the issues and appreciative of everyone’s participation in that process.
Over the past months, we have seen cooperation on behalf of our town government, working with concerned citizens that have resulted in positive changes for our citizens, positive changes for our schools, and for the greater good of the town.
We are heartened by these developments and would like to see them continue.
On March 28 a group of concerned citizens sent a request to our town’s finance committee asking them to reconsider many items in the FY 2013 budget as presented in the Warrant.
As a result of this request and many additional individual requests for information and discussions, the Fincom was able to adjust the final budget that was approved at Annual Town Meeting.
Further Adjustments were debated at Town Meeting and Residents voted their conscience. The art of true democracy.
As a result taxpayers were able to see over $3.5 M in savings on the operating budget and a reduction in taxes of approximately $7M.
The warrant as printed, represented a projected 5.6% tax INCREASE and a tax rate of $20.27 per thousand of evaluation. At the close of town meeting we ended with a 6.9% tax DECREASE and a tax rate projected to be in the $17.70 per thousand range. This represents a savings of $1,500 per average household versus the FY13 budget originally presented in the Warrant.
In addition, working with our school committee and Dr. Stein, we were able to find a reasonable solution on how to return over $500,000 of excess reserves to our residents.
Working with the Board of Public Works, we found a solution on how to return over $1.5M of excess water surplus back to our rate payers through reduction in water rates.
Finally, we were able to extend the transparency and accountability with the passing of Article 28 and the audit of the school fiduciary bank accounts.
As expressed by members of the Finance Committee, these current savings are temporary and it will be critical that we continue to work on refinements to our budgeting process to mitigate future tax increases.
There is more work to be done and we will offer to help create a budget process that is based upon actual expenses instead of on prior year budgets, to find ways to fund services without increases... We look forward to continued work with town officials, elected and appointed to drive these substantive changes."
Thank you to all the citizen’s that participated in the process.
Finally, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Steve Allen and our condolences are extended to his family.
Donna Bouchard, Andrea Wagner, Kent George, Tony Boschetto, Lead Petitioners on Articles 4 and 5 and on behalf of a growing network of residents who seek positive change and sustainable financial solutions.