FinCom Proposes Approximately $700,000 Above Town Manager's Recommended Budget
At this point, an override vote coming to Town Meeting appears to be unlikely.
The debate on the town budget continued on Monday, with the Finance Commitee voting 5-2 to recommend appropriating approximately $700,000 of the roughly $1 million requested by town departments above the Town Manager's recommended Fiscal Year 2014 budget, with most of that amount allocated to unexpected special education funding and new proposed positions in the School Department's budget.
They also aimed to do this not through an override, but through various methods such as reducing some department budgets, using funding from capital reserves, modifying revenue projections.
However, Finance Committee chairman Mike Princi told Patch that an override may remain as a possibility for longer term budgetary issues, such as the looming multi-million dollar deficit currently expected for Fiscal Year 2015.
Monday was by no means the end of the discussion, but two reoccuring themes continued.
The first came from Town Manager Jodi Ross, who warned that without new revenue enhancements paired with new positions added to the budget, significant layoffs are likely for Fiscal Year 2015.
School Committee chairwoman Angela Harkness also noted that the proposed positions are vital enough to the Committee's goal of providing a quality education for Westford students that additional fees and cuts in other areas would be pursued if the funding for those positions was not appropriated in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.
The School Committee is expected to discuss the issue further at their next meeting on Monday, Feb. 4.