Budget Chairman Recommends ‘Yes’

Letters / Feb. 25, 2010 11:57am EST

Even though I am chair of the budget committee, I cannot speak for Judy Soules and Sheila Jacobs, who are the other two members of the committee. So I write as a citizen of Randolph.

I believe it is necessary to bring some objectivity to the budget process, and in order to do that I need to correct some of the misinformation that was stated in Joe Voci’s letter printed in the Feb. 11 issue of The Herald.

First, Mr. Voci states that general fund revenues are down nearly $154,000. (By the way, it’s not “general fund” revenues he’s talking about, but “total tax” revenue.) Town Clerk Joyce Mazzucco responded to my inquiry that the lag between budget and actual is in line with previous years because the last installment on taxes is not due until March 31 and some of us wait until the deadline. While overall total tax revenues may be down at this point, revenues from “current use” and “PILOT” are in fact ahead of budget by $50,000.

Mr. Voci also attacked the listers’ budget, but what he didn’t tell you is that the proposed 2011 general fund budget, which includes the listers, is down by almost 6%.

Voci further writes that “The selectboard further compounds this by depleting the reappraisal reserve fund by $15,000.” This fund was not depleted at all: it was budgeted at $15,000, as opposed to $25,000 in 2010, because of the slump in the housing market. Why would we want to tax ourselves an extra $10,000 if we don’t need to?

As a compromise between giving RACDC $20,000 (as in the past) or nothing, the selectboard agreed to pay RACDC $5,000 in dues for work performed for the town. The taxpayers of Randolph are NOT obliged to pay RACDC another $10,000 for economic development. The selectboard did agree that $5,000 would be budgeted for economic development and $5,000 for the downtown designation, both amounts to be administered by the town manager.

Now, if you want an easy way to understand the tax situation and why there is an almost 5-cent increase in the tax rate, turn to page 86 in the new 2009 Annual Report and to page 90 in the 2008 Annual Report, where you will find the estimated tax rates for 2011 and 2010 respectively. If you compare the two years, you will find that special appropriations are up by $10,250; highway gund is up by $50,598; cemetery is up by $1,691; Kimball Library is up by $16,639 (if the supplementary appropriation is approved); and capital budget is up by $183,329. That totals $262,507. The other categories are down by $60,637.

This brings us to a total increase of $201,870, or .0470 on the tax rate.

(I am told by Town Manager Gary Champy that the reason there was no capital budget included in the estimated tax rate last year was because it was covered mostly from funds left over from the new bridge.)

With this information you may still not agree with the budget, but at least you know the increase has nothing to do with the listers area or RACDC. Would I like to see a lower tax rate? Yes. But in my personal opinion, that is not realistic. I agree that you should think carefully about your vote, but I can’t agree that the proposed budget is wasteful or unthoughtful. I recommend that you vote “yes” to the budget.

I look forward to seeing you at Town Meeting.

Michael Penrod

Randolph


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