By John Anderson
When elected town meeting members, town officials and town boards gather at Auburn High School on May 3rd, 27 articles will be on the Warrant. The bottom line is a town budget of nearly $58 million. The specific breakdown is Auburn Schools – $23,825,968; Bay Path – $1,104,658; Town – $17,084,631; Debt – $6,425,630; and Pension and Benefits – $9,280,809.
While the finance committee sets the final budget, there is input from the school committee, department heads, the town accountant, the town manager and others. And, anything can happen at town meeting as members have the right to amend articles in either a positive or negative way. Generally though, the members follow the lead of the hard working and well-respected finance committee.
Many department budgets are close to level funding due, in part, to the ever-escalating costs of providing health benefits to town employees.
Articles address salaries, a capital improvement plan, and the things that make a town function like authorization to apply for grants, to borrow money, and to maintain revolving accounts. Article 19 requests $100,000 to make improvements to town-owned properties, and the DPW’s facilities management personnel will likely perform most of this work. If the projects were put out to bid, costs could easily double. Many of these projects are long past due.
With any luck, the 80 members needed for a forum will arrive before the 7:00pm start time.