Proposed 2015 budget calls for 2 percent spending increase

The Board of Selectmen recently heard a presentation from Town Manager Richard Montuori on his proposed fiscal 2015 budget. The plan calls for an overall spending increase of $1.8 million, or 2 percent. The budget would rise by $1.3 million, or 2.8 percent, for the School Department, and by $882,136, or 3 percent, for general government departments. The town’s assessment to the Shawsheen Regional Technical School Committee district would decrease by $33,634, or .6 percent. A large portion of the budget increase — $894,928 for the schools and $365,695 for general government — is due to 2 percent salary increases plus step-pay increases for union and nonunion employees. Other factors were a rise in health and dental care costs — $389,408 for the schools and $178,485 for general government — and an increase in retirement costs of $58,414 for the schools and $291,095 for general government. The budget assumes level-funded state aid of $15.7 million and a slight decline in local receipts. Reflecting the tight nature of the budget, Montuori noted in a summary for selectmen that it offers no funding for additional staff at many town departments, for overtime at the Police Department, or for the purchase of more books or expansion of hours at the town library.