$45.4M request to boost senior center funding, repair seawall, rehab Fort Revere
Town Manager Philip Lemnios presented a balanced Fiscal 2023 $45.4 million town budget proposal during a joint session of the Select and Advisory boards this week, representing a $1.9 million – or 4.32% — increase over the current $43.6 million figure.
The proposed $29.02 million operating budget includes $12.1 million for general government and $16.3 million for the schools, representing 58% of the total operating budget.
Town department budgets increased by $1.4 million, or 4.91% over Fiscal 2022. Public safety comprises 26% of the overall proposed operating budget.
Other Fiscal 2023 budget components besides operating expenses include expenditures for health and life insurance, and property insurance, pensions, debt service, and capital repairs and improvements; intergovernmental charges including county, charter school and MBTA assessments; overlay (an account established annually to fund anticipated property tax abatements, exemptions, and uncollected taxes in that year), and snow-removal costs.
Lemnios explained that property taxes comprise 73% of the town’s revenue; state aid, 14%; and local receipts (including revenue from building and other permits and fees), 13%.
This year’s proposed budget includes funding addressing hazard mitigation needs and the impacts of sea level rise.
“We’re also seeking grants,” Lemnios said.
The budget proposal also includes funding to add a staff position to the Conservation Department to handle routine conservation agent functions, and an assistant town planner to help with the increasing workload in the Community Development and Planning Department.
The overall proposed budget includes a continuing commitment to the Council on Aging by increasing staff hours to reflect “growing service demands and to create innovative programming,” according to Lemnios. The COA budget has increased by more than 100% over the past five years, to a proposed $324,483 for Fiscal 2023, as compared to a $157,414 Fiscal 2019 budget.
Lemnios also presented a number of bond request proposals, which are contingent on town meeting approval.
“We have some stability in the budget, and [these initiatives] address some long-term structural deficiencies,” he said.
Those requests relate to:
* A $1 million bond to repair the Fitzpatrick Way seawall, contingent or the town receiving a $3 million grant from the state;
* A $2.2 million bond for rehabilitation of Fort Revere;
* A $420,000 bond to pay for new public works equipment;
* $357,000 for recurring smaller capital projects;
* Adding $200,000 to the stabilization fund, which would bring the town’s fund balance to $639,307.
The Advisory Board will begin reviewing the budget proposal at its Feb. 28 and subsequent meetings, which are open to the public. Voters at the annual town meeting on May 2 have the final say on the spending plan.
Your government at work
During this week’s presentation on the FY23 budget, Town Manager Philip Lemnios offered a list some of the tasks typically performed by various town departments:
– Maintain birth and death certificates
– Oversee all elections and town meetings
– Inspect 1,200 rental units
– Issue more than 1,400 building permits
– Serve more than 18,000 meals on wheels
– Plow more than 50 miles of roads
– Maintain all parks and fields
– Clean and maintain extensive storm drain system
– Respond to more than 2,600 calls for fire department service
– Manage the town’s emergency response program
– Respond to more than 15,000 police department calls for service
– Provide for parking and traffic control
– Oversee a variety of environmental regulations
– Assess more than 6,000 properties
– Provide for land use management and zoning control
— Carol Britton Meyer