Work Begins on Outlining FY20 Town Budget

Town Manager Austin Faison outlined the FY20 budget on Tuesday night at the annual spring forum at the high school.

While nothing is written in stone yet, it appears that officials are seeking to increase the FY20 budget by about 4.5 percent than the FY19 budget. All totaled the balanced budget request is beginning at $64,641,265, up from $61,817,334 or a $2.8 million increase.

The Town Council will vote on the final FY20 budget in June.

“The ‘asks’ are significantly bigger than the budget,” Faison said. “Winthrop has very little financial flexibility and we are handcuffed by Proposition 2 ½.”

Faison outlined his priorities and highlights of the budget proposal.

Budget Priorities:

• Conservative and realistic revenue projections.

• Ensure current free cash levels, to maintain the Town’s bond rating.

• Work in conjunction with the School Department and School Committee.

• Continue the town’s aggressive pension funding schedule.

Budget Highlights:

• $2.3 million in growth of FY20 v. FY19, which will go primarily to increased fixed costs, the Winthrop Public Schools, and town departments;

• No additional positions and minimal salary increases;

• Addition of several new software platforms across various departments that will ensure greater accountability, transparency, and delivery of services;

• Focus on several policy and project initiatives including the Center Business District Infrastructure Project, the Pauline Street Middle School site, a town-wide master plan, and the Win/2030 Strategic Plan.

• Faison also outlined a capital improvement plan, which calls for a new roof on the library and the repair of the Cummings School playground.

Faison has been with the town for seven months and this is his first budget for the Town of Winthrop. “The town revenue is reliant on state aid and property taxes,” said Winthrop’s CFO Anna Freedman.

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