May 21, 2024 Annual Town Meeting Information

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Town Administrator

Town Hall, P.O. Box 237, One North Main Road, Otis, MA 01253

(413) 269-0100 ext. 127                                     Fax (413) 269-0104

townadmin@townofotisma.com                                          www.townofotisma.com

May 01, 2024

 

Re: May 21, 2024 Annual Town Meeting Information

 

Dear Otis Voters and Residents,

 

Here are some highlights of the Fiscal Year 2025 budget and warrant.

The proposed FY25 operating budget is $6,700,692.48. This represents an increase of $305,410.20 from the FY24 budget of $6,395,282.28. This translates to a 4.8% increase over last year. There are three main factors that impact our tax rate; 1) what we need to raise to operate and provide quality services in the next year, 2) how much revenue and state aid we receive and 3) changes to our property valuations. Changes include new construction and how well things are selling in the real estate market. Property values are adjusted every year. Historically our tax rate is lower in Otis than 90% of the cities and towns in Massachusetts.

Some of the increases you will see in this budget include a 2.5% cost of living adjustment for general employee wages, a 7% cost of living adjustment for police officers, the addition of a part time Council on Aging Director, additional hours for the Treasurer and funds to address outstanding tax title accounts. Employee health insurance and property liability insurance both saw increases for the upcoming year. Revenue remains steady and we have seen small increases in State Aid and Ch90 allocations. Our first full year of Short Term Rental Excise totaled $66,270.00.

Article 9 requests authorization to borrow $4,500,000.00 for the Annex project. This is planned new construction on the former Erbe lot next to Town Hall. We have been advised interest rates are currently under 4% and the estimated yearly cost for this borrowing at the full amount would be around $330,000. The estimated impact on the average single family assessment of $461,061 would be $175. These estimates are calculated using conservative revenue and new growth numbers. The impact of the borrowing would not begin until the following fiscal year.

Capital items include paving another portion of Algerie Road, replacing a heavy duty snow fighter truck, air packs for the Fire Department, replacing a pickup for Maintenance and increasing our Stabilization account.

 

Current Cash Reserves:                                               Balances if Town Meeting approves all requests:

Free Cash (General Fund): $1,721,889.00                   Free Cash (General Fund): $ 760,595.04

Stabilization Fund: $797,955.00                                 Stabilization Fund: $1,017,955.00

Total: $2,519,844.00                                                   Total: $ 1,778,550.04

 

The Department of Revenue recommends that Towns retain a minimum balance in both Free Cash and Stabilization equivalent to 5% of the operating budget. If town meeting approves all the warrant articles funded by Free Cash, the balance in Free Cash will be 11.3% of the FY25 operating budget, while the balance in Stabilization will be 15% of the operating budget. The Town continues to retain substantial financial reserves for a community of its size.

 

 

Respectfully Yours,

 

Brandi Page

Town Administrator