NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 7, 2012

Finance leaders considering priorities for coming year

(Continued)

But he stressed payoffs using reserve funds should only be made on one-time expenses.

“One thing we do not want to do is to create a structural deficit by paying for ongoing operating items with cash. That just creates issues the following year,” Anderson said.

The committee would like to see the town develop a five- to 10-year capital budget plan that includes projected school building costs. Department heads should be asked to review their capital needs as part of their budget discussions.

The committee also believes the Page School Building Committee should create a five-year plan and identify whether any items in the plan could be covered with CPA funds.

“This request was loud and clear at Town Meeting,” the memo said.

The Finance Committee wants more analysis and discussion on ways to increase revenues and, in the coming year, would like to see discussion at Town Meeting include information for voters about where the town stands on revenue, free cash, CPA and the tax rate, along with a report on financial issues and opportunities facing the community.

Anderson said the long-term goal is to identify what the additional needs are going to be from a financial perspective and start budgeting for them now.

“We don’t want to wake up one day five years from now and the only solution is a series of overrides,” he said.

Selectmen and Sproul agreed on Wednesday to set a Jan. 10 deadline for all funding requests for the Spring Annual Town Meeting. Requests not submitted by that date may wind up not being considered for inclusion on the warrant, Selectmen Chairman Bert Knowles said.

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