Representatives from individual public departments spoke to and answered questions from Town Council members at a public meeting regarding Town Manager Andy Nota’s proposed 2023-2024 $82.5 million town budget proposal Monday night. During the over three-hour session, the public had multiple opportunities to comment on the proposal, but none were made.
“We learned, as we generally learn in these, that our staff is wonderful, they do enormous work for our town,” Town Council member Caryn Corenthal said. “We’re very lucky, frankly.”
During the meeting, representatives from the numerous departments, including the town’s finance, police, fire, public works and community services (including parks), along EG Free Library, which receives funding from the town, updated the council about their needs, successes, and vision for their departments.
“Transparency remains a critical element to building trust with the community,” Nota wrote in his 193-page proposal.
Mentioned at the meeting was the town’s website for community engagement that not only showcases the steps being taken in the budget proposal process, but also allows members of the community to voice their opinions and ask questions.
School Budget Proposal Discrepancy
Previously the School Committee had approved a request to seek $40.3 million from the town. In Nota’s proposed budget the schools would receive $39.7 million, which as previously reported is a 2.46 percent increase over the current year. This creates a roughly $500,000 discrepancy that that town council will have to address during the budget adoption process.
At the meeting on Monday night Nota briefly touched upon the next steps saying that both he and the School Committee will present their budget proposals to the Town Council at a meeting on Monday, May 15. He went on to say that the Town Council doesn’t need to decide on a plan at that meeting and may just hear both sides out – the council has until June 15 to approve a budget.
Nota said that nothing significant had changed about his proposed budget since it was published May 1, adding he would keep the town council members updated on changes that are occurring in real time.
“I’ll continue to feed you with a number of different pieces of information,” Nota said to the town council members. “One of which we just received today on the tangible tax, some guidance on adopting it. Just to get you ready to finish up in the coming weeks.
There will be a joint Town Council and School Committee Budget review on Monday, May 15.