With an eye towards setting the fiscal year 2025 budget guideline for town and school departments, the Finance Committee outlined the principles that inform the process.
The guideline will be published in the fall as departments draw up their spending plans for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024. The “guardrails,” as the committee referred to them, include residents’ ability to pay, measured alongside the increasing cost of providing town and school services.
“The two are separate but the guardrails are an objective measure of the range in which the final overall guideline should fall,” the committee stated.
To provide the town with the same level of service as last year, the budget will grow by 3.66 percent, whereas income growth will be slower, at 1.79 percent.
FinCom member Lois Wasoff noted that considering taxpayers’ “willingness to pay,” though undeniably important, is not an issue for the committee; rather that is a question for Town Meeting and the ballot box, she said. She added that community input is important.
“No measure is perfect,” said committee Chair Parashar Patel. “This is an art, not a science.”
The committee is also eager to include revenue to offset some of the increase via state grants or revenue-generating property development.