WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Another year, another budget increase for Westborough, as the first proposal for the FY 2014 budget shows a 3 percent increase to $79.2 million.
Westborough's Town Manager presented his budget proposal at Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting, highlighting that the only substantial increase to the town budget is a replacement of the reverse 911 system that will no longer be provided by the state.
"I think the town has shown a lot of fiscal restraint over the last couple of years," Malloy said.
The proposal came in $351,661 above the 2 percent increase limit put forth by the Board of Selectmen without any "new growth" to offset it.
The proposal was a combination of all town budgets, the largest increase of which will come from schools. The $42.7 million school budget is up about 3.1 percent ($1.29 million).
The other main increases were insurance, at $574,800, and fire salaries, at $91,188. Malloy said those three line items accounted for 84 percent of the $2.3 million increase.
School Committee chair Ilyse Levine-Kanji told the Selectmen that although the schools number is high, in terms of percentage of total budget, Westborough finds itself right in the middle of all Massachusetts towns.
"I think the bottom line is that we have a well-run town, quality services and quality employees," she said.
Malloy also pointed to the much discussed tax split between businesses and residents. In his budget demonstration, which is available online, he noted that after 1992, the tax burden shifted from 50-50 to 60 percent on the taxpayers.
"If people are still concerned about it they need to realize it's been a 20-year trend," he said. "It's probably not going away."
Board of Selectmen Chair Leigh Emery said she understands the concern about rising taxes, but they are a reality.
"To get to a point where there is no increase would be tremendous cut in services," she said.
Residents in attendance at the meeting expressed displeasure at the continuing of tax increases, including Stephen Faris, who has taken out nomination papers to run for the Board of Selectmen in the upcoming election.
"While the services are great, maybe we can't afford this as a town anymore," he said.
The Selectmen said they will continue to talk budgets in advance of the March Town Meeting with the hope of paring down wherever possible.