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Proposed $25.5M budget on the table

Plan maintains services, adds full-day kindergarten

March 02, 2011
STURBRIDGE — Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski recently announced a proposed $25.47 million budget for fiscal 2012, which will be discussed by members of the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee at the town's annual budget meeting on Saturday morning, March 5.

"The proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2012 will maintain services and general government staffing at current levels," Suhoski said. "The current iteration of the budget would also fund full-day kindergarten classes."

The budget would include $14,792,819 being allocated for education and $1,947,307 going to the police department. According to Suhoski, no increases to general government staffing are proposed at this time, although there are unmet needs that will likely need to be addressed in the future. These include the possibility of adding a third work crew to the Department of Public Works, discussing the need for an information technology professional to maintain the town's growing IT infrastructure, and exploring how to best manage the town's inventory of public and protected lands.

Regarding town employee wages, the proposed budget includes a one percent wage increase for all non-union, public-sector employees, while members of the DPW would also see a 1-percent increase in wages as a result of their recent contract. Union employees would receive benefits as stipulated under their settled agreements, as one government collective bargaining agreement remains subject to ongoing negotiations. In addition, Suhoski proposed wage adjustments for the following three positions to keep their salaries consistent with the respective survey and market range — principal assessor, finance director, and conservation agent.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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