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Town Manager Sandy Pooler has announced his proposed budgets for fiscal 2024 and the capital plan through fiscal 2028. Proposed for the general fund is $206,253,646, an increase of $8,501,122 (4.30%) from the current budget.

In a statement dated Jan. 13 and addressed to the Select Board and Finance Committee, Pooler wrote that the proposed budget is "built on a foundation that is both stable and potentially volatile. Property taxes remain a stable source of revenue and make up three-quarters of the town’s budget. As the largest source of revenue, property taxes increase steadily each year, but that revenue growth is limited by Proposition 2½ and is insufficient to keep up with rising costs."

'Structural deficit' cited

As was the case with his predecessor, Adam Chapdelaine, Pooler cites structural financial issues as a cause with the town's inability to keep up.

He wrote: "It is because of this structural deficit between limited property tax revenue increases and steadily increasing costs for essential services that that town has periodically asked voters to approve Proposition 2½ operating overrides. The volatility in the revenue picture stems from two factors; the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and anticipated changes in state aid."

In addition, he wrote that the Covid-19 pandemic reduced local revenue for several years in areas such as motor vehicle excise tax receipts, meals and hotel taxes, and some fees. "These sources have slowly been returning to their former levels, but some still lag their previous highs," he wrote. "To replace that last revenue, the town has used $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds last year and this year.

Healy's budget awaited

"State aid remains a big question at this moment. The new governor has until March 1, 2023, to release her FY2024 budget and the state-aid figures in it. Depending on what those state aid numbers are, the town may or may not need an operating budget override this June.

"The framework for Arlington’s long-range financial planning remains intact. Fiscal 2023, the current fiscal year, is the fourth year of a four-year plan that incorporated the Proposition 2½ override of 2019 designed to carry the town’s budgets through FY2023."

Pooler writes that the Select Board adopted commitments that served as the basis for the $5.5 million operating override successfully passed via a townwide ballot on June 11, 2019.

The statement then spells out the board’s commitments and the status of fulfilling them. Read the details here >>

Feb. 9, 2022: Manager says proposed $196m fiscal '23 budget prepares for future override

This news summary was published Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, based on the town manager's budget statement.