FY09 Budget Over-Ride
At the Annual Town Meeting May 20th, Otis voters will be asked to approve a $336,000.00 Proposition 2 ½ over-ride to balance Otis’ 2009 budget. If approved by Town Meeting, this amount would still need approval by ballot at the May 27th election because any tax increase greater than 2½ % above the previous year must be approved by voters at both a Town Meeting and at an election. If the over-ride passes, the total increase in the tax rate would be 86¢ per thousand or $172.00 annually for a property assessed at $200,000.00.
The amount on the over-ride consists mostly of some of the larger budget increases requested by town departments. Without the over-ride, affected departments would receive approximately the same level of funding as this year. Aside from these increases, other fixed costs are going up including insurance, county retirement and energy.
About two thirds of the over-ride would pay for the Farmington River School’s request for a $187,983.00 increase and a $36,795.00 increase in Otis’ share of the school bond (due to the Commonwealth’s decision to reduce the amount it will reimburse Otis and Sandisfield for their bond payments). A large part of the school’s requested increase is a $135,000.00 increase in its special needs tuition costs, including an $80,000.00 increase for out of district placements. Another is about $35,000.00 for new computers.
About 15% of the over-ride would pay for increased hours of coverage by the Otis Rescue Squad. Otis Rescue Squad is requesting an increase of about $46,000.00 in order to provide on-call staffing over-night and weekends.
Both the Otis Library and the Otis Recreation Commission have budget increases included on the over-ride. The Library requests an increase of $20,825.00 for items including the purchase of books and supplies and addressing maintenance issues. The Otis Recreation Commission’s $20,250.00 increase includes increased staffing, swimming lessons and additional equipment behind the town hall.
Voters are encouraged to attend the Annual Town Meeting May 20th, raise their questions and concerns, and vote May 27th.