TO THE EDITOR:
Since the beginning of the year, town departments and school administrators have worked tirelessly to propose a fiscal year 22-23 budget. The Superintendent of Schools, the BoE, the BoF and BoS have debated the budget by line item. Each of the Boards voted and approved the budget recommendations. And although, disappointingly, this year’s ATBM failed to achieve quorum, registered voters will still have the opportunity to answer three questions:
Shall the Town Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 22-23 as determined by the ATBM be approved?
Shall the Board of Education Operating Budget for the Fiscal Year 22-23 as determined by the ATBM be approved?
Shall the Capital Budget for the Fiscal Year 22-23 as determined by the ATBM be approved?
This ~$75M budget represents a 4.32% increase in town operating expenses and a 2.40% increase in the BOE budget, together representing an almost $2M increase. The capital budget, from a percentage perspective, increased significantly—but it is off a small base. The actual increase to capital for the town is $394K, and $422K for the BoE. Capital expenses are things like paving – investments that go to improve our town and our schools. Operational expenses are expenses incurred during the normal course of business – like salaries and benefits.
So how, might you ask, did the town propose an almost flat mill rate increase? Through a ~$3M windfall through the grand list, the sale of the FS property and some excellent actuarial recommendations by an astute member of the BoE. Operational increases are the gift that just keeps giving… if passed, it becomes the starting point for Fiscal Year 23-24. And though possible, it’s unlikely that we will realize revenue windfalls like this again.
At this point, you are probably expecting me to tell you to “vote yes” or “vote no”. I have my opinion, and I am happy to share it with you (firstname.lastname@example.org) – but not here. My only objective is to share the facts and let you make your own decision. Ultimately, the power to approve this budget rests with you - Weston homeowners and voters who cast their vote this Saturday, May 7th between 12-8 p.m.
You have a very real opportunity to participate in the democratic process in a positive and constructive way and I encourage everyone to come to Town Hall on Saturday and have your voice heard.
— Amy Jenner
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