Planning for next year’s budget has already started. Obviously the economic situation impacting each of us at home is changing the parameters of the discussion.
The budgeting the last few years has occurred in at a time when revenues are expanding locally. Expanding revenues provided the schools with about a 5% increase in operating budget over this period. This year’s budget work is taking place in an environment where revenues are diminishing. In light of this shrinking revenue, the town provided all departments with a 3% (increase) guideline for next year’s budget. We also have been asked to prepare a 0% (increase) guideline. Both scenarios are reductions from the practices of the immediate past.
What does a 3% guideline mean?
At this point it is difficult to precisely say. The largest portion of our operating budget is salaries. Simply keeping our current staffing and fulfilling our contractual obligations will require about a 4% increase from last year. Confounding this shortfall are rising utility costs and the need to negotiate a new bus contract.
The purpose of this post is simply to communicate that the parameters of next year’s budget are different than those of the immediate past few years. Depending on retirements, it will be difficult to maintain the level of services without the revenue to support these services. In other words, there will be difficult decisions ahead.
Please stay tuned…