As part of its financial plan, the town has been moving toward having employees contribute more to health-care premiums. Recently, the town and police settled a longtime contract dispute that resulted in officers contributing 1 percent of their salaries toward health insurance premiums.
Although large, many of the increases are absorbed over time through new accounting regulations that have municipalities operating more like private companies, said Caponera. They have accounted for a "structurally balanced" process by taking into account land and equipment depreciation.
He used the landfill's opening of a new site, which is currently under construction, as an example. Construction of the new site continues out of more than $2.5 million budgeted next year for land purchases, equipment and projects at the landfill. However, under the new accounting practices, the town must figure in the closing costs of the new sites that won't come into play more than 20 years from now.
With such expenses forecasted, the town will have money earmarked for such projects and mandates, meaning it can get to work on whittling away its deficit. Caponera and Brizzell said they hope to have it gone by 2009 or 2010.
The town has scheduled a public hearing on the tentative budget for Thursday, Nov. 8. Copies are available at the Clerk's Office at Town Hall in Newtonville.