$3.1M override going to voters in West Boylston; Funds would cover three years.

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Byline: Marc C. Sanguinetti

WEST BOYLSTON - Voters will be asked to approve a $3.1 million Proposition 2-1/2 override as the town grapples with stagnant revenue and a looming budget deficit.

The Board of Selectmen last night voted in favor of placing the override question on the ballot at a special election to be held after next month's annual town meeting. Selectmen also authorized the town administrator to draft a nonbinding resolution asking town boards and the School Committee to agree to spending caps for the next three fiscal years.

Last week, the School Committee and Superintendent Thomas J. Kane met with selectmen and asked them to present voters with a Proposition 2-1/2 override. The request came after Town Administrator Leon A. Gaumond Jr. announced a projected budget deficit of $436,000 for fiscal 2008, citing decreased revenue from excise taxes and an increase in health insurance costs.

Kevin M. McCormick, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, requested Mr. Gaumond calculate an override amount that would cover projected budget shortfalls over the next three fiscal years. Mr. Gaumond told selectmen last night that he estimates an override of $3.1 million is needed to level-fund town budgets through fiscal 2010.

Selectman Allen R. Phillips questioned why such a large dollar amount is needed for the override. Mr. Gaumond responded that non-recurring funds the town is using to balance the budget this year won't be available in future years. Mr. Phillips asked what the consequences are if the override fails to pass.

Mr. Gaumond said he must present voters at town meeting with a balanced budget regardless of the outcome of the override. He said he will present two budgets at town meeting. The first is a balanced budget of $18.86 million that will require large spending cuts across the board. Mr. Gaumond said he will also present a level-funded budget that meets town and School Department needs if the override passes.

Mr. McCormick asked to make...

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