Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

February 13, 2014

Town budget plan up by4.5 percent

Stapczynski seeks $7M hike to fund services

Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski introduced a new theme along with the new budget he presented to the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee Monday night.

“Using Andover’s strengths to ensure fiscal stability” is the philosophy of his proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, which will undergo rigorous review starting this weekend.

“It’s a rational budget with logic behind the numbers,” said Stapczynski, who sat down with The Townsman Monday to discuss his 24th straight budget submission since becoming town manager in 1991.

The budget was greeted with mixed reviews following Monday night’s meeting.

“There are some items in the budget I disagree with,” Selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli said, pointing to Stapczynski’s proposal to add six new positions to town departments.

“It’s increased head count and increased cost. We had focused on the town side trying to keep that down. I don’t want to see that reversed. That’s what adds to the costs in the short term and more importantly the long term.”

Finance Committee member Jon Stumpf applauded Stapczynski for using a debt analysis tool to keep spending down on big projects.

“The department heads ask for more, but it’s (Stapczynski’s) responsibility to prioritize things,” he said. “It’s living within our means. He did a good job of that.”

For fiscal year 2015, which runs from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, the town manager is asking for a $164.6 million budget, which represents a $7 million — or 4.5 percent — increase over last year’s $157.6 million spending plan.

Among the highlights of the town manager’s proposal are:

Town departments need $36.5 million, up about $1.2 million, or 3.5 percent, from last year.

The School Department would get $71.3 million, up $2.4 million, or about 3.4 percent, under the town manager’s budget.

The School Department, meanwhile, has requested a $72.2 million budget, or 4.8 percent increase — a difference of nearly $1 million that needs to be worked out in negotiations, Stapczynski said.

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