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The Town’s current fiscal year (FY23) operating budget is approximately $141 million. (The $141 million includes approximately $19.1 million for water, sewer, and South Shore Country Club operations, which are funded from user rates and have no impact on property taxes.)
The largest five departmental budgets supported by property tax revenue include Schools ($61.8 million), Employee Benefits ($15.6 million), Police ($7.2 million), Fire ($7.2 million), and Debt Service ($5.8 million).
The town uses a Five-Year Financial Forecast to project revenues and expenditures for future fiscal years. This document evolves during the budget process as new revenue and expenditure data/information becomes available. It is an iterative process, so the FY24 deficit will change as we incorporate updated revenue projections and expense estimates at different points in the budget cycle.
We typically put together the initial version of the Forecast each December once municipal and school budget requests are submitted for the upcoming fiscal year. The Forecast is then updated 2-3 more times – typically in late January/early February when Q2 revenue information becomes available and again in early March when health insurance rates are published for the upcoming fiscal year and preliminary State aid information becomes available. The Forecast is finalized in mid-March once the Advisory Committee votes final budget recommendations.
As of early March 2023, the current FY24 deficit is $6.0 million.
The Town Administrator and School Superintendent have talked about the 65/35 allocation in recent discussions and that’s what the proposed school and municipal “balanced budget” scenarios are based on. The 65/35 split comes from the relative size of the school and municipal budgets (see pages 67-70 of the Sustainable Budget Task Force report, which includes the FY22 chart below). Ultimately, the budget recommendations from the Advisory Committee will be printed in the Warrant (in Article 6) and made to Town Meeting.