No Override This Year, But Degen Predicts $750,000 Vote Next Year
by Connie Sartini,
Spring Town Meeting voters will not have to decide on whether or not to support an override for the FY2020 budget as the Select Board voted 4-1 (Degen) not to use an override to fund the budget that includes, among other items, monies for the Nashoba Valley Regional Technical School and the addition of two full-time Firefighter/EMTs.
Selectman Josh Degen explained that he was in favor of an override because he is concerned about the future whereby the 2021 budget will require a$750K override. This is based on the use by the GDRSD of $350K from their Excess & Deficiency budget for operating expenses for the schools this year, that gets added back into their budget for next year, along with an anticipated additional $400K for the schools for next year.
At their March 22 morning meeting, the Groton Finance Committee voted unanimously to support the addition of two Firefighter/EMTs to the FY2020 budget.
Town Manager Mark Haddad said it is difficult to propose an override when the town is under the levy limit. He proposed some budget adjustments that will enable the town to add the two new Firefighter/EMT’s and the cover the both the GDRS school assessment, and the increase from the Nashoba Valley Regional Technical High School.
Included in his proposal was a reduction of $3000 from the Groton Police Dept. budget for replacement of the Police Dog due to the generosity of residents to fund this acquisition; Senior Center van services by $10,000 to reflect actual expenses; reduction of $13,000 in health care costs to reflect anticipated expenses; a reduction of $200,000 from the Snow and Ice budget and use of funds from the Board of Assessors overlay surplus account.
By doing this, Haddad advised that the town would still be $207,106 under the levy limit. This will set the tax rate for the town at $18.59 per thousand of real estate valuation.