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Coyle Presents $59.8m Budget Driven by Salary Increases

The budget also calls for the creation of several new positions and $700,000 in capital spending.

Town Manager Thomas E. Coyle III presented a $59.8 million budget to the Town Council on Monday that calls for a tax increase of 2.16 percent over last year.

It’s a budget driven primarily by contractual wage increases for all but the town’s firefighters, Coyle said, with most employees getting a 3 percent raise next year.

Other increases are due to a new network administrator position being created for the IT department at a cost of $55,000, the addition of a mechanic to the Public Works department, a full-time human resources consultant and a big increase in employee benefits costs to the tune of $655,147 — an increase of 13.04 percent over last year.

SEE ALSO: The Proposed 2015 Budget, by Department

Coyle said the new positions were needed for several reasons and no position was created without significant analysis, such as the new network administrator position, who will compliment the one-member IT department who “cannot keep up with the overwhelming demands for services to accommodate the entire town,” Coyle said.

That demand has increased since the merger of the Fire Department into the town, causing an increase in the use of technology by the town in day-to-day activities. The new position will liberate the department in the sense that it will be able to take on large projects at the same time everyday problems are fixed. The department is on track to receive 1,500 service calls per year — a clear sign of increasing demand, Coyle said.

“This is not a day of help here or there,” Coyle said. “We do need a full time person on board.”

The other major budget driver this year relates to capital expenditures. Coyle is proposing $707,650 is capital spending for a variety of projects, including $100,000 to finish the $250,000 Town Hall painting project ($150,000 is already set aside in reserve), $50,000 for a dehumidifier at the police station, $160,000 for a roll-off truck, $170,000 for road repairs and other smaller expenses for playground surfacing, repairs at Academy Courts, a new dispatch console and others.

The total increase in capital expenditures would increase by $126,951 over last year's budget.

Coyle is proposing an increase in the town’s appropriation to the schools to the tune of $32.4 million — an increase of $695,899 over last year.

With $2.46 million in state aid heading to the schools, the total school budget next year will be $34.6 million, bringing the total school budget increase to $931,283.

Coyle said he has continued to work closely with school officials and consolidation discussions are ongoing in the hopes of finding more cost savings and opportunities for shared services.

The budget is now in the hands of the Town Council, which will hold a series of public hearings beginning next Monday before they adopt it sometime in May and voters weigh in at the Financial Town Meeting in June.

You can view budget documents HERE.

This story provides an overview of the budget presentation but is not complete by any means. We posted a departmental breakdown of the budget after this story was first posted. In addition, a list of all capital improvements with background information will be posted soon.

James R April 15, 2014 at 06:58 AM
This budget proposal--while modest in some areas in terms of increase--is unsustainable for our community. I agree we should all share in cost increases--but to have many increases well in excess of inflation is irresponsible and another heavy burden for the taxpayers to shoulder. Secondly, we need more of an explanation for the incredible pension expense increases..i.e has the pension become significantly underfunded? Is it the addition of the firefighters? The council should post the annual valuation of the pension for the public to review. Having taxes go up $1 for $1000 is around a 4.2% increase..CPI increase is nowhere near that number. If you don't ask the questions, you will find in a few years that your tax bill is out of control.
Steve Gregson April 15, 2014 at 07:39 AM
A combined effort between School Committee and Council with the goal of what's best for the town is in order. At least if I were calling the shots, the goal would be scrutinize the contracts,direct teacher negotiations to emulate the trend and needs of the tax payers. Things like, health insurance buybacks, accumulated sick time, increase in insurance co-share all on the table! Rough numbers used to be 80-85% of the budget goes for salaries and benefits. By the time you pay overhead costs (Heat, Elect, Fuel, Maint etc..) there isn't as much to play with as you may think. Yes we need to fix the roads, plow the snow and do all the things related to a municipality but we have reached the point where we have lost our focus and vision. It's time for a new set of eyes!
bwg April 15, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Didn't the school dept just hire an IT director? Why not consolidate the entire town IT support into one group and really make sure we're reducing redundancies in support, applications, processes, personnel. And, as I recall, the reasoning behind bringing the fire district under the town was for cost savings. Where are those savings?
Mark Schieldrop April 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM
I didn't put this in the story, but Coyle noted that the FD consolidation means there is no additional fire district tax. I don't have a dollar amount to put out there in terms of savings as the costs/savings are spread throughout a lot of the budget.

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