$1.2M override endorsed for FY '08; Discussion of cuts on tap for FinCom.

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Byline: Linda Bock

UXBRIDGE - In addition to a $1.2 million override, annual town meeting members next week will consider whether to join the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control District and whether to set up a solid waste and recycling enterprise fund.

The Finance Committee voted unanimously Saturday to recommend favorable action on the fiscal 2008 budget at the annual town meeting May 8, including the recommendation of a $1.2 million override.

The committee will recommend the annual operating budget be balanced by a Proposition 2-1/2 override of $1.2 million and cuts, or a transfer from the stabilization account, of $237,910 and deferring action on spending up to $120,000 on a master plan. In light of the deficit and in preparation for the town meeting, town and school officials met for several hours Saturday. The Finance Committee will also meet at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Town Hall to discuss its recommendations on cuts totaling $237,910.

The annual town meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 8 at Uxbridge High School, 62 Capron St.

The town faces a revenue problem with total revenues increasing only 1.7 percent, the result of a 1.4 percent growth in state aid, and the fact that the town used the stabilization account to balance the fiscal 2007 budget, according to the Finance Committee.

Total revenues are up $569,320. On the expenditure side, health insurance costs are up 13 percent at $418,935; special education is up $600,000; and the cost of the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School is up 14 percent at $213,849 because of increased enrollments. Energy and retirement costs are also up. The town used $1,322,542 in free cash to balance the fiscal 2007 budget.

The Finance Committee voted 7-0 last week to recommend the $1.2 million override because of the revenue problem. The committee feels the budget cannot be balanced through expenditure cuts, nor should it be balanced by a transfer from stabilization.

Based on budget reviews, hearings and meetings, as well as previous town meeting votes, the committee feels the community has articulated its view of the town's "core services," such as public safety, schools and social services. The fiscal 2008 budget, according to committee members, cannot be balanced without seriously altering these services...

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