WINCHESTER - Town Manager Lisa Wong gave the Select Board a preview of the budget she planned to submit to the Finance Committee late last week.
It showed a use of $1.5M-$2M of the remaining override money, which would leave approximately $2M for FY22. Because Wong used less than anticipated for FY20, it allowed her to stretch the $10M over three years instead of two.
The Town Manager also said state aid and local receipts increased, which helps cut down on the amount of override money or Free Cash needed to close any budget gaps.
Wong announced the school budget at $56,262,147 or a 3.74 percent increase over FY20. She also projected the municipal budget at $27M.
Some of the highlights include: an additional 10 hours for the building department, an additional administrative position for the comptroller at $60,000, two additional people in the DPW - the cemetery and the building division, more money for the Health Department, a PT Network Administrator in the IT Department whose position could pay between $59,000-$84,000, a new position within the Planning Department at $60,000, and a Sustainability Director for the Town Manager.
All of these positions may not be filled for FY21. One, the potential Sustainability Director, could be filled through a grant, according to Select Board Chair Mariano Goluboff. He said that position is needed to implement the Climate Action Plan Committee’s climate action plan.
There will also be an increase in the Town Clerk’s budget due to the number of elections this year for both president and the town. Elections begin on March 3, aka, Super Tuesday, with the presidential primary, then continue on March 31 with annual spring town elections. Early voting for the presidential primary begins Monday, Feb. 24. There is no early voting for town elections.
One issue that could affect the budget involves the four unions contracts currently being negotiated: fire, police superior, police officers, and clerical. Another concerns an increase in health insurance costs, this year by possibly eight percent.
Wong also mentioned her desire to have some money in the budget ($100,000) to implement the Master Plan. The town also needs to pay more for its new solid waste contract ($273,150).