continued Fund balance usage also would dramatically decrease from what was seen in the 2012 budget, from $800,000 to $200,000, which leaves a significant $600,000 gap. Budgeted fund balance usage in 2012 was $600,000 less than the previous year, too.
“If you look at your budgets … your budgets are not balanced, they are far from it,” Paolino. “You are balancing your budget by applying fund balance.”
Every said the fund balance at the close of 2011 for the general fund was $1.8 million and the highway fund had $320,000. Paolino said the numbers are “solid” but the board needs to continue to move away from fund balance usage.
Outside of contractual step increases, the budget forecast doesn’t include any increase in salaries. Paolino said a 1 percent increase in salaries for town staff works out to $91,000 per year.
Buffardi said he is in ongoing talks with union representatives and intends to allow the union heads to look at the town finances.
“The pie is only so big and we will have to portion out the slices,” Buffardi said.
No money is budgeted for equipment purchases for the five-year period because it is recommended the town implement a five-year replacement plan, so equipment expenses and be budgeted for consistently.
Buffardi said he had worked with Paolino and Every on the forecast, so he wasn’t surprised by the numbers.
“I think the glass is half full,” Buffardi said. “I think we are looking towards some tough times, but I also think we can make it and stay under the 2 percent tax cap and still provide healthy services to the residents. “