Each week, the Abington News is asking the five candidates for the board of selectmen a question to help voters better understand them as candidates.
This week’s question was: The town is likely going to be battling budget challenges, at least for this year and next. Is there a scenario where you’d be in favor of an override to fund the town’s operating budget? If not, what is your approach to balancing the town’s budget?
If you missed Week 1, here it is.
(Responses are provided in the order they were received)
No tax paying citizen looks forward to overrides. In my opinion, overrides should only be used when all other options have been ruled out.
I would want to see what our budget shortfalls would be for the next
1-2 years and see if we can’t cover it in other ways. Whether it be borrowing from the town’s free cash, liquidating some of the town’s surplus land (while the market is still good) or by borrowing from this past year’s snow budget, all options should be considered.
SUSAN FERREIRA EMERY
The question is what scenario would exist to allow me to support an override. The answer is if there was some equal that was coming off our taxes. Then I would support an over ride.
The next question is what would I do to balance the budget. This question speaks to one of the reasons I am asking for a seat on the board. I believe our budget would be better served with additional revenue streams. I see these very innovative and creative small business models to answer that question. Small business can start up quickly and provide the formula for success we need. Sadly, we have lost opportunities, but I believe there is hope for our future.
The new Town Manager has made tremendous progress in the short time he has been with the town. The current budget has been paired down by approximately $1.2 million since Scott started as TM. Obviously this was in response to the pandemic.
We postponed the hiring of a new town planner as well as a new civilian position at the police department. These were proposed positions so no actual persons were let go. The school put off hiring for several positions also. Our state aid estimates went from $2,088,894 down to $1,932,643 for unrestricted general government. We currently have around $1.8 million in free cash and about $ 450,000 will be used for capital projects. Currently there is a hiring and spending freeze in place until further notice. Our 2021 budget calls for $1 million to go into stabilization.
Therefore with the information I have today, I do not see a scenario where we would need an override to fund the operating budget.