At the April 20 meeting of Town Council, Winthrop’s Chief Financial Officer, Anna Freedman delivered the budget presentation for Fiscal Year 2022.
The presentation was broken down into four parts: a summary, the general fund, enterprise funds, and a capital plan.
The total FY22 Budget came to $69,071,554, a 4.89 percent change over the last fiscal year. The greatest increase from one year to the next was in enterprise funds, which increased by over $2 million.
An overview of the general fund examined revenues, budget gaps and solutions and expenditures.
Almost two thirds of projected revenue, over $35 million, is from property taxes, which is limited due to Proposition 2.5. State aid, which has increased steadily since 2015, accounted for almost a quarter at $12 million and is divided into Chapter 70 funding, charter tuition reimbursement, unrestricted government aid and veterans benefits. Revenue from local receipts is largely from motor vehicle excise tax and meal tax. Of course, local receipts have been impacted by COVID-19.
The Town and Schools requested over $2.5 than in FY21, resulting in a budget gap of $1.4 million. The current solution proposes $631K in cuts to department requests, $234K in cuts from the FY21 approved budget, a $130K transfer from the rainy day fund, and $450K in ARPA funds, which are meant to offset COVID revenue loss.
Expenditures are broken down into town departments, schools, non-departmental spending, enterprise funds, revolving funds and non-appropriated funds. Fixed costs include retirement contribution, health insurance, Medicare, liability insurance, state and county assessments, vocational tuitions and GF debt.
Enterprise funds include $327K for the harbormaster, a 9.5 percent decrease over FY21; $442K for the ferry, a 3.8 percent decrease; $334K for recreation, a 2.4 percent decrease; and $300K for the skating rink, a 7.1 percent decrease. The Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund sits at $10.6M, an increase of 2.64 percent. This will cover mandatory projects and assessments and will translate into a higher water/sewer rate.
The amount of $128.5K from the Capital Stabilization Fund will go to support a new pumper engine for the fire department and the design phase of the Revere Street Project. An additional $94K in ongoing PILOT funding will go toward the annual replacement of police cruisers as well as annual sidewalk repairs. Finally, $75K from the Building Maintenance Fund will support risk mitigation projects at the fire and police departments and the Winthrop schools.
Smaller projects include $16.7K for the Fort Banks Access Road Study, $35K for a signage audit, $32K for a beach improvement study, $19.5K for clock tower repairs, $50K for storefront improvement, $40K for library maintenance, and $39.7K for fire station upgrades.
In terms of next steps in the budget process, the Town Council and Finance Commission will host public meetings in May. Department heads will meet to discuss their individual budgets. The Finance Commission, which is composed of the Council’s Finance Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee, will prepare recommendations to the Town Council by the end of May for review in early June. A final budget should be approved by the end of June.
The full budget presentation is available on the Town website. Physical copies are located at the Town Manager’s Office.