SHIRLEY -- The governor's mid-year "9C" budget cuts include less funding for the Department of Corrections, which in turn impacts the town, Selectmen Chairman Andy Deveau said Monday night.
The Department of Revenue previously "assured us" the town would get at least the same amount of MCI prison mitigation money it did the previous year, Deveau said, but it looks like that $94,000 line item has been scratched from Shirley's state aid package this year, along with another $11,000 in unrestricted local aid, for a total loss of $105,000.
When the budget building cycle begins after the first of the year, that deficit must be addressed, he said.
The good news is, the town isn't broke. "We do have some account balances," Deveau said, citing $303,000 in the stabilization fund and $58,000 in the capital stabilization fund. Plus, the old Hazen library has been sold, netting $74,000 the town can only use for capital purchases.
Given continued cuts over the last six or seven years, there's very little left in the town budget to cut, Deveau said.
Selectman David Swain said it's even worse than it looks because that $105,000 in lost revenue could be $100,000 more than that by the end of the calendar year due to anticipated revenue incorporated into this year's budget that the town won't be getting after all.
However, based on Special Town Meeting appropriations based on earlier projections, departments have been spending that anticipated income for the last six months. "I'm concerned about waiting" to figure out what to do, he said.
He asked Chief Administrative Officer David Berry if the fiscal team he heads up, consisting of a working group of Town Hall staff members, had discussed the issue.
Not yet, Berry responded, but the group will meet this week.
"I think we should look at rescinding some of the appropriations we made at Special Town Meeting," Swain pressed. "We shouldn't delay."
Selectman Kendra Dumont suggested a joint sit-down with the Finance Committee at the board's next meeting on Jan. 7, at which time they could "look at where to cut."
"We can cure the deficit by taking it from stabilization," Deveau posited, although he stopped short of suggesting it. "It's an option" to be decided collectively, and the process should start with open, public discussion, he said.