ANDOVER — Town Manager Andrew Flanagan has been able to restore cuts to the town and school operating budgets in the coming fiscal year thanks to an increase in state aid.
“The governor, along with the Senate and the House, have made a commitment to level-fund state aid,” Flanagan said to members of the Select Board at a recent meeting. “So, (if we) level fund at FY '20 amounts, we are able to restore those two revenue lines to lasts year's amount.”
The revenue lines Flanagan is referring to are the two main categories of state aid the town receives: Chapter 70 funding and Unrestricted General Government Aid.
Flanagan said that prior to the level funding, the town was looking at a combined 20% reduction from both, accounting for a $2.7 million dollar loss.
Of that $2.7 million, Flanagan was planning to cut $393,000 from the town's operational budget and a little less than $807,000 from the school system's operating budget, the latter of which could potentially cost teachers their jobs.
The school's operating budget includes ongoing expenses such as salaries, supplies, training and out-of-district student placements.
According the schools' Director of Communications Nicole Kieser, the additional state funding was much needed.
“These monies will help the district to manage anticipated increased staffing and equipment costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
The town's operating budget includes all the costs of all the departments — for instance, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Public Works, plant facilities, general government recreation, youth services, the library, and so on.
The Select Board voted to adopt the new budget 4-1.
The board's version of the budget isn't final until it's approved at Town Meeting on Sept. 12. Since Town Meeting has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the town has been operating on a 1/12 monthly budget.
In addition, Flanagan increased the town's retirement appropriation for the upcoming fiscal year by $300,000 to $1.7 million. Flanagan initially recommended $1.7 million for the retirement fund when the budget was proposed last February.
Most of the money from the additional state aid, however, is going toward capital projects. Flanagan added $1.1 million to that aspect of the budget.
The total FY '21 budget for the town is $197,825,031.