Barrington’s annual Financial Town Meeting is Wednesday evening, May 23, and the wood shop at the middle school appears to be the only thing standing in the way of no tax hike.
Next fiscal year’s proposed spending plan stands at $61.9 million – the first budget without a tax hike in many years. It will be presented by Kathy Cadigan, chair of the Committee on Appropriations.
Registered voters will get a chance to sign off on that budget in the Barrington High School auditorium. The town meeting starts at 7 pm.
At least 35 voters must show up to hold a town meeting or the budget is approved automatically. And with no tax hike proposed for the combined $61.9 million in spending next year, the turnout could be sparse.
Three motions to save the wood shop, however, could generate a larger crowd than anticipated. All three motions have been filed by William and Kari Banas of Fales Avenue. The would like to add money to the school budget to save wood shop, cut by the School Committee. Their motions go up from $108,000 to $126,000 to $144,000.
The first motion seeks only to save a teaching position at the middle school. The latter two motions seek to save the position and bring the sawdust removal system up to the fire code.
Only the latter motion appears to save wood shop when the cost of bringing it up to code is added to the cost of a wood shop teacher. Voters would have to agree to add $144,000 to do that.
The increase would force a tax hike of at least 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, said Dean Huff, Barrington finance director. Each penny of increase brings in about $27,500, he said.
A resolution to continue a lease with Four Town Farms for 40 acres of town-owned land in Nockum Hill also is on the agenda. The lease would extend for another 20 years at a fee of $10,000 a year or $250 an acre. The land would have to be used for agricultural purposes.
Amendments for changes up to $50,000 in individual accounts can be made from the floor at the town meeting. The entire school budget is considered one account.
The Committee on Appropriations will present the spending plan. If approved, about 91 percent of the spending will come from Barrington property taxes. The rest will come from local and state fees and state aid.
The proposed school budget is about $44.56 million, an increase of approximately 2.7 percent or $1.19 million.
The proposed municipal budget is $16.61 million or 3.58 percent lower than the current spending plan.
Together with the capital budget, that computes to the same tax levy rate as in this year -- $17.95 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Other resolutions on the FTM agenda include:
- Moving surplus funds for FY12 to the capital reserve account.
- Issue emergency notes for emergency appropriations.
- Issue tax-exemption notes.