Plans are ramping up for the town’s 250th anniversary of the “Shot Heard ‘round the World” on April 19, 2025, according to Henry Dane, who is heading up the Concord250 committee.
Where to find enough money to serve the thousands of people expected is a hot topic, since the town does not anticipate asking taxpayers to foot the bill.
In a memo prepared for the Select Board, Town Manager Kerry LaFleur outlined that raising taxes is effectively a non-starter after recent tax hikes to pay for the middle school.
She wrote that the Commonwealth has set aside some $2 million to pay for a statewide tribute to Massachusetts’ Revolutionary War history, but Concord will see a fraction of that money.
A third strategy, she noted, is using the $500,000 in so-called ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds that can be spent at the discretion of the Town Manager, without needing a vote of Town Meeting. Federal ARPA funds are for post-COVID restitution.
“I propose that up to $500,000 of ARPA be allocated to the 250th Anniversary Celebration,” she wrote.
An article seeking half a million dollars on the warrant for the upcoming Town Meeting will not be moved since the town will not be asked to appropriate funds.
The cumulative total budget for expenses that Dane recently unveiled shows $494,700 for fiscal year 2024, the current year; $1,550,500 for FY25, and $1.6 million for FY26. The preliminary list of revenue on the budget shows $800,000 for FY2024; $1.25M for FY2025 and $50,000 for FY2026.
On the revenue side, there is $800,000 listed in state funds, including ARPA money and $100,000 other sources for the current year; $1,250,000 next year in sponsorships, state funds, ARPA funds and donations; and another $50,000 for FY26 mostly in other state funds. The budget is not final.
“This is good,” said Dane. “It doesn’t eat into free cash and will not require new taxes. There will be no serious impact on our tax rate.”
Still, he noted that the town “needs to start accumulating money over the next two years.” He aims to find volunteer fundraisers who can appeal to large corporations and write grants. There is a new address for donations: P.O. Box 250, Concord, MA 01742.