In the Board of Selectmen's update to the town, Chairman Joe Botaish was confident that the town can maintain services and quality of life, but warned that the town needs to start saving now and cannot depend on State Aid.
As of the end of the 2012 fiscal year, the town has $1,375,174 in free cash in the General Fund along with $480,519 in the Water Enterprise Fund.
The good news is that last winter the town stayed within it’s appropriation for snow and ice of $150,000 for the first time in a decade but Botaish did note that a repeat was unlikely and the town should not plan on that happening again.
The chairman also encouraged the town to continue saving some of its free cash in the Capital Equipment Stabilization Fund as well as the General Stabilization Fund. The town began the practice after the November 2011 Town Meeting and continued in this meeting when the town voted to add $50,000 into the Town Stabilization fund and an addition $150,000 into the Municipal Capital Stabilization Fund.
Looking towards the 2013 fiscal year, the growth of the tax base exceeded the assessor’ estimates and the town is seeing an increase in building permits. Commercial, industrial, and personal property values are also growing,
Despite the positives, the state is reporting lower than expected revenues, which means a possible decrease in aid coming to the school and state. Residential properties have also seen a decline.
Overall, Botaish felt that the town needs to start saving for the town’s future now and not rely on state aid in the event that the town does see a decrease in aid.
Beyond the budget, the town and its unions also agreed to change health plans in an effort to reduce premium costs.
The Capital Budget Planning Committee will be revisiting the town's five-year capital plan once a review of the town's equipment and building needs is completed.