Legislators Tell Town Officials to Prepare for Level Funded State Aid
News is mixed as Legislative delegation meets with Board of Selectmen.
Local Legislators were cautiously optimistic when discussing local aid with Tewksbury officials this week.
State Rep. Jim Miceli, state Sen. Barry Finegold, outgoing state Rep. Paul Adams and state Rep. Jim Lyons met Tuesday with the Board of Selectmen to discus the fiscal health of the state, the governor's proposed cuts in Local Aid for Fiscal Year 2013 and projections for FY 2014.
Miceli told selectmen that given current revenue projections, he doesn't foresee any cuts to local aid in FY '14. Tewksbury was slated to receive roughly $15.5 million for the current fiscal year.
"(The town) should be all set if they plan on level funded aid from the state," said Micelli.
Finegold echoed Micelli's assessment.
"I think we're seeing some good signs in the state," he said. "The first revenue figures in December have been pretty (strong)."
Town Manager Richard Montuori said the town's FY '14 budget process is still in its early stages but he his planning on using level funding as his projection for state aid.
"We really have to wait and see what the (state) revenue figures are in February and March," said Montuori. "But we have to put the budget together now. We can't wait on the state. If we have to make adjustments, we will."
Earlier this month, Gov. Patrick made community officials across the state nervous when he announced a plan to make $540 million in immediate cuts in order to balance the FY '13 State Budget. The cuts were needed, said Patrick, because of lower than expected revenues in the fall.
Those proposed cuts included a proposal to cut FY '13 local aid by one percent, across the board. For Tewksbury, that would mean the loss of roughly $155,000. But Gov. Patrick can't cut local aid without the permission of the Legislature, something Montuori and the selectmen urged the local delegation not to give.
Gov. Patrick has proposed legislation that would restore any local aid cuts made this year if Lottery revenues exceed $1.026 billion in 2013.
In other news:
Selectmen voted to set the 2013 Tax Rates at $15.44 per $1,000 valuation for residential properties and $25.60 per $1000 valuation for Commerical/Indistrial/Personal properties.
The new rates represent an increase of eight cents per $1000 for residential and a decrease of 35 cents per $1000 for C/I/P. They also represent a "Tax Shift" of 1.47, down from 1.49 from last year.
"We just felt, across the board, this was the fairest, most balanced approach," said Montuori. "Even with the shift reduced, residential properties are (shouldering) 71.4 percent of the tax burden. That's down from 72.3 percent."
According to figures provided by Montuori in a Powerpoint presentation (see attached document), the tax bill for an average homeowner in Tewksbury should increase $176 for the year. The average condo owner will see an increase of just $6 for the year. An average commercial property owner will see an increase of $1446.