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'As good as it gets'

FY 2011 budget $2.4 million lower as town deals with less local aid

March 30, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The Town Council got its first look at a $45.45 million fiscal 2011 budget, about $2.4 million lower than what Southbridge is spending this year.

The initial figures show it to be $18,000 in deficit, but Town Manager Christopher Clark said he expects to make up the difference by eliminating maintenance of a building that's going on the market soon.

"It's about as good as it gets," said Councilor Albert Vecchia. Referring to Clark and other fiscal officials, he added, "… You people are outstanding and earn your pay."

As with all preliminary budgets, Clark noted his figure includes some estimates that are likely to change, particularly $19.28 million in state aid. Basing it on the governor's proposed state budget, which he described as "somewhat optimistic," Clark said he believes it won't be cut as deeply as it was this year, but won't know until June.

Presently, he said, the House and Senate are recommending about $125,000 in local aid be cut from Southbridge, and if that survives the legislature's budget process, Clark will take 61 percent from schools and 39 percent from general government. The Education & Human Services subcommittee will meet with the School Committee next Tuesday to explore what that might mean in context of the district's $23.04 million plan.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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