Finance Committee issues budget guideline 

By Betsy Levinson
November 30, 2023

The recommended fiscal year 2025 overall budget guideline, as set by the Finance Committee this week, provides for a 3.66% increase for town and school departments.  

The total fiscal year 2025 budget is $104,471,259. That figure is approximately $4 million over the fiscal year 2024 budget of $100,786,843, according to figures supplied by Lyndsey Lis, a member of the Guideline Subcommittee. 

Subcommittee Chair Lois Wasoff outlined that the 3.66% spending increase breaks down to an increase of 4.45% for the town and 3.26% percent increases for the Concord Public Schools and the Concord-Carlisle High School Regional School District. 

For CPS, the total is projected to be $46,515,714 and $23,029,906 for the regional high school. The town total is $34,925,639. 

Wasoff said the metrics used by the FinCom in drawing up their recommended guideline included projected taxpayer income levels and inflation for the school and town expenses. 

Both town and school union contracts will be negotiated in the coming months. Wasoff said the 3.26% increase allows for an approximate 2.3% fiscal year 2025 cost of living increase.  

FinCom member Karlen Reed was the lone voice voting against the guideline, saying the COLA increase was too small. 

The capital budgets for the town and schools were the subject of considerable discussion, as those projects in so-called Tier 1, up to $250,000, were handled within the town’s operating figures while the schools separated them into a capital budget warrant article at Town Meeting. 

This year, the town shows a separate line item for capital items for Tier 1 of $2,180,000, or a 4.45% increase.  

“The capital planning process will be continuing,” said Wasoff. 

Wasoff said smaller projects were cut during COVID, so the increase in fiscal 2025 “is in part to make up a portion of that deficit.” 

Wasoff cautioned that “massive” capital projects for the town were coming, amounting to “more than the middle school.” 

The committee stressed that revenue generation is important. Members welcomed plans for additional housing appearing on the horizon. 

FinCom Chair Parashar Patel noted that COVID “slashed capital funds” for the town. 

“We need to come up with ways to budget for those items,” he said.