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Haddad Outlines 3 Options For Funding Schools Technology Needs

Town Manager Mark Haddad outlined various options that could be implemented in order to fund Groton Dunstable Regional School District's request for an additional $525K to fund critical technology needs for schools. Of this amount, Groton would contribute $425K or 76 percent while Dunstable would be responsible for $138K or 24 percent. Dunstable is planning to fund their portion via borrowing through a 'State House' note, according to Mark Haddad, Town Manager.

According to Haddad, the town "has the levy capacity to fund this expenditure. It would add 28 cents to the tax rate of and increase the tax bill on a $400K home by $112 per year for one year, For FY13 the tax rate would be $16.85 or $6740 on a home valued at $400K and in FY14, the tax rate would increase to $17.27 and the tax bill on the average home would rise to $6908.

Another option open to the town is to float a "State House Note" that carries a current interest rate of 2.75 percent. Over the three-year note, the first year - FY14 - would be $153,450; in FY15 it would be $149,552, and in FY16, $145,653. Interest over the period of this note would total $23K. This scenario would add 10 cents to the tax rate each year for a $400K house, or $120 over three years.

A third option to fund the $425K Groton share is to use half the amount from Stabilization Fund and half from the levy limit. This would add 13 cents to the tax rate and increase an average tax bill by $57. However, keeping the Stabilization Fund at five percent of the town's operating budget would require a vote at Fall Town Meeting for any cash to be returned to the fund.

Members of the Finance Committee were part of the meeting, and had a number of questions. Several members were reluctant to borrow to pay for the assessment from the school. Haddad said that his finance team would look at the scenarios again and bring back the information.

Groton Electric Light Department Commissioner Kevin Lindemer told the Board, "Taxes in Groton are high. I'd like you to look at a solution that doesn't raise taxes that may or may not be temporary. This could wipe out the Stabilization Fund...If we can't replenish it, we need to cut costs somewhere else."

FinCom member Steve Webber commented that the Stabilization Fund monies have already been taxed and it would amount to taking $425K out of the current balance of $1.2M fund.

Selectmen Josh Degen asked whether or not the School Department had a Technology Capital Plan. He suggested that there will be a need to appropriate additional funds to keep up the technology area.

Groton Herald

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P.O. Box 610, Groton, Massachusetts 01450

145 Main Street, Groton, Massachusetts 014510
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