Voice your opinion on the Hopkinton’s FY09 budget now

There have been several questions sent to www.EducateHopkinton.com regarding the definition of a level services budget vs a level funding budget and about what residents can do to make their voices heard. We hope that the information here will clarify the definitions and your role.

Level services vs Level Funding

· Level Services maintains the services the town now offers without any loss of personnel and programs. Funds may be shifted to accommodate changes in need, but residents would not feel a difference in what they now have. Supporting this type of service would require an override and increase your taxes beyond what is allowed by Proposition 2 ½.

· Level Funding or, more appropriate, funding to existing revenues, uses available revenue to fund the town budget. It does not require an increase in your taxes over what is allowed by Proposition 2 ½. It will, however, reduce the services that you now receive from schools, police, fire, and public works.

In both cases, at this point, the town does not know the exact dollar amount for an override or for service reductions. It is currently projected at $1.4 million, but that number is expected to go down to somewhere between $500 thousand and $1 million.

To have your voice heard, you should write the Board of Selectmen. They have the ultimate authority on deciding whether or not to put an override on the ballot, allowing citizens the choice of level services or level funding.

Because of the budget schedule, you should contact the Board of Selectmen or Town Manager before March 4.

If you want to send an email, here are some examples of sample wording:

1) Supporting Level Services:

Dear BOS/Town Manager,

I would like you to consider endorsing a level services budget for FY09. I understand that this will maintain current services for our schools, police, fire, and public works, avoiding a loss of personnel and programs. I would like the opportunity to vote on any potential override required.

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

The X Family

2) Supporting Level Funding:

I cannot support a tax increase to support Level Services. I understand that the impact of this choice will result in reductions in our schools, police, fire, and public works and am asking the town to construct a FY09 budget that makes the best use of revenues the town expects to receive.

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

The X Family

Here are the email addresses for the Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager.

Muriel Kramer, Chair: muriel.kramer@comcast.net
Mary Pratt, Vice Chair: mpratt102@aol.com
Mike Shepard: mwshepa@verizon.net
Brian Herr: bherr@wesco.com
Matt Zettek: mezettekjr@aol.com

Tony Troiano anthony.troiano@hopkinton.org