Acton can avoid a property tax increase next year with no layoffs

By Clint Seward, Candidate for Acton Selectman

Many Acton citizens are facing hard times that may last for several years. There are about 700 newly unemployed in Acton, which affects the spouse and kids also, a total more than 2,000 people hurting. There are also seniors on fixed incomes whose investments have declined, and also young families with high expenses plus concerns about their jobs. They need help.

Acton can help its citizens facing hard times by avoiding a tax increase next year, and avoiding layoffs, by implementing some of the $6M of cost reduction ideas suggested by the Finance Committee. Acton's budget for next year can be balanced to eliminate the 2½% tax increase of $1.5M and the spending of $800K of reserves on budgets --- a total of $2.3M.

IMMEDIATE SAVINGS LIKELY SAVINGS MAX SAVINGS
Teachers forego part of COLA raise $800K $1.25M
Hold expenses lines nearly the same for FY10 as for FY09 $200K $400K
Eliminate Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) bonuses $200K $300K
Eliminate unused budget lines $100K $300K
Less Boxborough portion -$100K -$200K
TOTAL Net immediate potential $1.2M $2.05M
     
ADDITIONAL SHORT TERM SAVINGS THAT, WITH SOME WORK WILL HELP FY10    
Health Insurance help from 85% to 75% (Talk w/ teachers) $500K $1.0M
Stimulus package: SPED $400K $400K
Regionalization $400K $500K
Initial cost sharing & combined operations (FinCom list) $200K $300K
Less Boxborough portion -$150K -$330K
TOTAL NET OF ALL ABOVE $2.55M $3.98M
     
LONGER TERM COST REDUCTION (SOME MAY BE OF HELP IN FY10 BUT NOT INCLUDED ABOVE):    
FinCom 100+ items $900K+  
Stimulus package Part 2 $700K  

Citizens can read this list and decide if they will vote for another “Tax to the Max” budget or vote to avoid a property tax increase with no layoffs and no reduction in town services.

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