Wakefield Local Aid Set To Rise In Coming Year
Wakefield could see an increase of more than $800,000 in local aid under the governor's recent budget plan - but that all depends on whether it passes or not.
Wakefield stands to see a significant increase in state next year, under Governor Deval Patrick's proposed FY '14 budget plan.
Town Administrator Steve Maio told Wakefield Patch on Monday that he had been surprised to see the proposed local aid increase as much as it did for the year, but also pointed out that the town was also seeing some of its local aid figures made more consistent with other area communities.
"I am very cautious because that is predicated on (Patrick's) tax plan passing," said Maio, noting that the governor is proposing about $661,000 more in Chapter 70 school funds for Wakefield, or about a 13% increase. He also acknowledged that in the current era of tight fiscal budgets, proposed aid amounts are far more likely than they once were to go down during a budget process.
The Governor's budget quickly came under fire from House Republican lawmakers last week. A check with one of Wakefield's two state representatives, Democrat Paul Brodeur, also found last week that while he was positive overall about the Patrick Budget, he too was concerned about its impact on middle class taxpayers.
Maio noted that last year, Wakefield did not raise taxes the full 2.5% allowed under state law. A sizeable increase in local aid this year could have a similar benefit for taxpayers this year he noted. However, the town administrator did cite a couple of fiscal items to watch for - some contracts are coming up for negotiation in the school district, and Maio also raised the prospect of some new security enhancements, such as cameras, for the schools.
In recent weeks, Maio has already indicated that the town is on a decent fiscal footing heading into a new budget season. On Monday night he was set to give a presentation to the selectmen that would include a small surplus of about $66,000 (based on last year's state aid figure) while also addressing some budget priorities such as a fire prevention officer, longer library hours and various DPW and technology-related needs.
A complete look at where all of the towns stand under the Patrick plan compared to 2013 can be viewed at this link.