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Officials foresee no cuts to budgets

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The town began the process of preparing next fiscal year’s budget with a meeting Jan. 21, and Town Administrator George Samia said for the first time in years departments are not being asked to cut spending. “All of the departments were represented at the meeting and on Feb. 28, we’ll have returns on the budgets,” he told selectmen last week. Department heads are being asked to draft budgets at the same level as this year’s spending, except for any increases mandated by contracts. Samia said the decision reflects savings that have been found in other areas, including an agreement that will see town employees join the state Group Insurance Commission program this spring. “After the past six years, it’s good to know you don’t have the hatchet out to start with,” said Selectman Martin Crowley. Samia said having budgets increase by 1 or 2 percent would represent a 5-point swing over the 3 percent cuts selectmen have been seeking in recent years. Selectmen also discussed major accomplishments in the past year, including a townwide facilities maintenance program, and Moody’s Investors Service giving the town a AA3 bond rating. “That rating is a pretty important piece for the town,” said the board’s chairman, Brian Connors. “It allows us to borrow money at a lower price.”

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