2021 Annual Town Meeting Warrant

Below is the full text of the Annual Town Meeting Warrant for May 1, 2021.
You can also download a copy here.


TOWN OF WORTHINGTON
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
May 1, 2021
9:30 AM
RH Conwell School
OUTSIDE

Hampshire ss:

To either of the Constables of the Town of Worthington in the County of Hampshire.

GREETINGS: In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you are hereby directed to notify and warn the inhabitants of said Town, qualified to vote in election and in Town affairs to meet outside at the RH Conwell Elementary School in said Worthington on Saturday the First of May, 2021 at 9:30 AM, then and there to act on the following articles:

ARTICLE ONE:  To Choose all other Town officers as are not required by law to be elected by ballot.

            Almoners of the Whiting Street Fund

                        Bruce Barshefsky, Catherine Whitcomb, Diane Meehan

            Field Drivers and Fence Viewers

                        Bart Niswonger, Kevin Porter, Darlene Millman

            Surveyors of Wood and Timber

                        Keith Manley, Sam Powell, Clarence Witter

ARTICLE TWO: To Act upon the reports of the Town Clerk, Town Treasurer, Selectboard, Almoners of the Whiting Street Fund and other elected or appointed officers or committees of the Town.

ARTICLE THREE:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $1,211,756.09 for the total Worthington School District Budget for the period of July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, or take any other action in relation thereto:

Worthington School District AppropriationFY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Elementary$890,441.04$953,573.69RecommendedRecommended
Secondary275,834.00258,182.40RecommendedRecommended
Total$1,166,275.04$1,211,756.09  

ARTICLE FOUR:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $18,051.90 from the Conwell Stabilization Fund to purchase ten 60-inch round, mobile tables for the School Cafeteria, or take any other action in relation thereto.

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE FIVE: To see if the Town will vote pursuant to MGL Ch44 s53E ½ , as most recently amended, to amend the General By-Laws of the Town of Worthington by adding a new section establishing and authorizing revolving funds for use by certain Town entities as follows:

  Section XVI – Revolving Funds

  1. This by-law, adopted in accordance with MGL Ch44 s53E ½,

establishes and authorizes revolving funds for use by the Town entities listed in connection with the operation of specific programs or activities that generate receipts to support all or some of the expenses of that program or activity.

B. Expenditure Limitations: An authorized department, board, committee or officer may incur liabilities against and spend monies without further appropriation from a revolving fund established hereunder subject to the following:

  1. Fringe benefits of full-time employees whose salaries or wages are paid from the fund shall also be paid from the fund;
  2. No liability shall be incurred in excess of the available fund balance;
  3. The total amount spent during a fiscal year shall not exceed the amount authorized by Town Meeting or any increased amount approved during that fiscal year by the Selectboard and Finance Committee.

C. Interest: Interest earned on monies credited to an authorized revolving fund shall be credited to the General Fund.

D. Procedures and reports: Except as provided in MGL Ch44 s53E ½

and this by-law, revolving funds authorized hereunder shall be subject to all applicable state laws and regulations governing municipal funds. The Town Accountant shall include on the regular report to the entity authorized to expend each revolving fund a statement on the collections credited and the encumbrances and expenditures charged to the fund, as well as the balance available for expenditure.

E. Authorized Revolving Funds:

AUTHORITY

FUND                                  REVENUE SOURCE                  TO SPEND FUND                             USE OF FUNDS

Conwell  School Laptop               School Committee                 School Committee                                    student computer

Protection Plan                             Laptop fees                                                                                  repair/replace

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended


ARTICLE SIX:
To see if the Town will vote pursuant to the provisions of Section 53E ½ of Chapter 44 M.G.L. to authorize the amount of $1,680.00 as the annual spending limit for the Conwell School Laptop Protection Plan revolving fund, such limit to be applicable for Fiscal Year 2022, or take any other action in relation thereto. 

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE SEVEN:To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $190,817.00 for Vocational Education, or take any other action in relation thereto:

Vocational EducationFY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
 $187,054.00$190,817.00RecommendedRecommended

ARTICLE EIGHT:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $77,172.00 to be paid to Gateway Regional School District for Capital and MSBA payback costs, or take any other action in relation thereto:

Gateway School District PaybackFY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Bonded Projects56, 858.0055,884.00RecommendedRecommended
MSBA Payback21,288.0021,288.00RecommendedRecommended
Total$78,146.00$77,172.00  

ARTICLE NINE:  To see if the Town will vote to fix the salaries or compensation of all elected officers of the Town, as provided by MGL Chapter 41, Section 108 as amended, and to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $51,169.00 for these salaries and compensation to be as of July 1, 2020 as follows, or take any other action in relation thereto:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Selectboard, Chair$2,307.00$2,339.00RecommendedRecommended
Selectboard, Clerk2,027.002,055.00RecommendedRecommended
Selectboard, Member2,027.002,055.00RecommendedRecommended
Bd. of Health, Chair1,871.001,897.00RecommendedRecommended
Bd. of Health, Clerk1,871.001,897.00Recommended      Recommended
Bd. of Health, Mem.1,871.001,897.00RecommendedRecommended
Moderator100.00100.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Clerk10,606.0010,754.00RecommendedRecommended
Assessors, Chair6,344.006,433.00RecommendedRecommended
Assessors, Clerk13,610.0013,801.00RecommendedRecommended
Assessors, Member5,758.005,839.00RecommendedRecommended
Tree Warden2,073.002,102.00RecommendedRecommended
Total$50,465.00$51,169.00  

ARTICLE TEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $476,526.00 for the following Town charges, or take any other action in relation thereto:               

GENERAL GOVERNMENT:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Selectboard Expenses$3,500.00$3,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Assessors’ Expenses1,750.001,750.00RecommendedRecommended
Classified Advertising2,000.002,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Tax Map Maintenance1,600.001,800.00RecommendedRecommended
Assessors’ Software Support8,500.008,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Assessors’ Revaluation3,900.0019,950.00RecommendedRecommended
Online Tax Maps2,400.002,400.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Clerk’s Expenses700.00700.00RecommendedRecommended
Election Expenses3,979.00585.00RecommendedRecommended
Registrars’ Expense50.0050.00RecommendedRecommended
Tree Warden’s Expenses13,000.0020,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Tax Collector17,938.0018,562.00RecommendedRecommended
Asst Tax Cltr/Asst Treasurer8,170.008,449.00RecommendedRecommended
Tax Collector’s Expenses4,100.004,100.00RecommendedRecommended
Tax Collector’s Software5,349.005,349.00RecommendedRecommended
Accounting Services30,000.0030,600.00RecommendedRecommended
Accounting Software3,858.004,051.00RecommendedRecommended
Treasurer17,938.0018,562.00RecommendedRecommended
Treasurer’s Expenses4,500.004,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Treasurer’s Software1,376.001,445.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Payroll Service3,000.003,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Executive Assistant54,725.0056,534.00RecommendedRecommended
Assistant Secretary3,900.003,970.00RecommendedRecommended
Recording Secretary8,000.008,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Bd. of Appeals Expense500.00600.00RecommendedRecommended
Conservation Comm. Exp.600.00600.00RecommendedRecommended
Historic Commission Exp.0.00250.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Off. Maint. & Sup.3,200.003,200.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Hall Maintenance4,500.004,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Hall Custodian2,748.004,680.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Telephone Exp.10,000.0016,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Building Heating23,000.0024,000.00RecommendedRecommended
War Memorial & Town Bldgs250.000.00RecommendedRecommended
Conwell Bldg. Expenses125,277.00127,248.00RecommendedRecommended
IT/Comptr. Replenishmt plan4,000.004,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Comptr. Maint. & Supplies700.001,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Computer Maint. Labor3,200.003,200.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Web Site1,000.001,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Planning Board Expenses300.00300.00RecommendedRecommended
P.V.P.C.196.00201.00RecommendedRecommended
Recreation Comm. Exp.1,800.001,800.00RecommendedRecommended
Founder’s Day0.000.00RecommendedRecommended
Finance Comm. Expense140.00140.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Reports1,250.001,250.00RecommendedRecommended
Law Account Expense15,000.0015,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Tax Taking-Collector1,200.001,200.00RecommendedRecommended
Tax Title Foreclosure Treas.2,500.002,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Tax Title Foreclosure Maint.2,000.002,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Audit Expenses12,500.0012,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Council on Aging10,000.0010,000.00RecommendedRecommended
COA Building Lease10,700.009,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Total$441,044.00$476,526.00  

ARTICLE ELEVEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $604,241.00 for the following Town charges, or take any other action in relation thereto:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Hampshire Cty Retirement$200,228.00$295,613.00RecommendedRecommended
Group Insurance234,829.00222,110.00RecommendedRecommended
Unemployment Comp.1,500.003,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Workers Compensation9,518.0010,518.00RecommendedRecommended
Insurance and Bonds45,000.0050,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Medicare20,500.0023,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Total:$511,575.00$604,241.00  

ARTICLE TWELVE:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $21,879.00 for the Worthington Library, or take any other action in relation thereto:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Worthington Library$20,837.00$21,879.00RecommendedRecommended

ARTICLE THIRTEEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $19,350.00 for the following Town charges, or take any other action in relation thereto:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Maintenance of Cemeteries$17,000.00$15,450.00RecommendedRecommended
Cem. Commission Expense*NEW*500.00  RecommendedRecommended
Grave Openings3,400.003,400.00RecommendedRecommended
Total:$20,400.00$19,350.00  

ARTICLE FOURTEEN:  To see if Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $214,844.14 for the following Town charges, or take any other action in relation thereto:

PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Emergency Mgmt. Salary$997.00$1,011.00RecommendedRecommended
Emergency Mgmt. Expenses600.00600.00RecommendedRecommended
CivicReady1,144.001,178.00RecommendedRecommended
Animal Control Officer Salary1,637.001,660.00RecommendedRecommended
Animal Control Officer. Exp.300.00300.00RecommendedRecommended
Fire Dept. Operating Expenses22,800.0023,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Fire Department Fuel2,500.002,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Fire Dept. Wages, Clerical5,049.005,223.00RecommendedRecommended
Fire Chief Salary5,608.005,801.00RecommendedRecommended
Fire Dept. Grant Writer1,234.001,234.00RecommendedRecommended
Fire Dept. Code Insp. Comp.1,500.001,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Fire Dept. Call Comp.13,000.0013,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Hilltown Comm. Ambulance29,785.5430,469.14RecommendedRecommended
Town Constable100.00100.00RecommendedRecommended
Animal Inspector683.00693.00RecommendedRecommended
Building Commissioner18,476.0019,213.00RecommendedRecommended
Building Inspector Alternate203.000.00RecommendedRecommended
Building Inspector’s Expenses1,375.001,578.00RecommendedRecommended
Plumbing Inspector1,483.001,504.00RecommendedRecommended
Plumbing Inspector’s Expense400.00400.00RecommendedRecommended
Wiring Inspector3,352.003,399.00RecommendedRecommended
Wiring Inspector’s Expense120.00120.00RecommendedRecommended
Assist. Wiring Insp. Expense300.00300.00RecommendedRecommended
Gas Inspector1,166.001,182.00RecommendedRecommended
Board of Health Expenses200.00200.00RecommendedRecommended
Board of Health Agent3,900.003,900.00RecommendedRecommended
Ctrl. Hamp. Veterans’ Service5,573.005,775.00RecommendedRecommended
Veteran’s Aid25,000.0015,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Disposal Works55,000.0055,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Disposal Attendant11,256.0011,642.00RecommendedRecommended
Hilltown Resource Mgt. Coop.6,129.006,362.00RecommendedRecommended
Streetlights840.001,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Total:$221,710.54$214,844.14  

ARTICLE FIFTEEN:  To see if Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate a sum of money for the following Town charges, or take any other action in relation thereto:

POLICE DEPARTMENT:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Police Dept. Expenses$18,745.00$18,745.00RecommendedRecommended
Police Chief Salary36,400.0072,800.00RecommendedRecommended
Police Dept. Wages22,800.0023,940.00RecommendedRecommended
Add’t Police Dept. Wages*NEW*32,112.00Defer to Town MtgDefer to Town Mtg
Police Clerical Wages10,097.0010,446.00Recommended Recommended
IMC Software Maint.950.00950.00RecommendedRecommended
Regional Lockup1,098.001,098.00RecommendedRecommended
Total$90,090.00160,091.00  

ARTICLE SIXTEEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $5,819.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to purchase two 14” Solar Radar Speed Signs with programable message displays, or take any other action in relation thereto.

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE SEVENTEEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $2,200.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to purchase two protective vests for the Police Department, or take any other action in relation thereto.

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE EIGHTEEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $33,489.00 for Principal and Interest on the Fire Truck Debt, or take any other action in relation thereto:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
Fire Pumper Truck                   $34,237.00$33,489.00RecommendedRecommended

ARTICLE NINETEEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $564,506.00 for the following Town charges, or take any other action in relation thereto:

 FY2021 AdoptedFY2022 ProposedSelectboard ActionFinance Comm. Action
General Highway Maint.$50,000.0050,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Road Sweeping6,000.006,500.00RecommendedRecommended
Town Mowing9,200.0012,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Winter Highway Maint.110,000.00110,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Wtr. HWY Overtime Wages11,853.0011,853.00RecommendedRecommended
Highway Dept. Wages148,040.00153,155.00RecommendedRecommended
Highway Wages Clerical5,049.005,223.00RecommendedRecommended
Highway Superintendent72,530.0075,046.00RecommendedRecommended
Hwy.Supt. Add’l Wtr. Comp.2,479.002,479.00RecommendedRecommended
Garage Maintenance14,000.0014,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Machinery Maintenance30,000.0030,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Highway/Police Fuel27,000.0030,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Superintendent’s Expense1,600.001,500.00RecommendedRecommended
FRCOG Group Purchasing*NEW*2,750.00RecommendedRecommended
Secondary Rd. Improvemts.60,000.0060,000.00RecommendedRecommended
Total:$546,286.00$564,506.00  

ARTICLE TWENTY:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $60,000.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to purchase a new Diamond Heavy Duty Wheel Loader Boom Mower, or take any action relative thereto. 

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-ONE:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $135,350.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to purchase a new 2021 CAT 930M Loader, or take any action relative thereto. 

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-TWO:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $119,450.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to purchase a new 310SL HL Backhoe, or take any action relative thereto. 

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-THREE:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $3,500.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to Contract Services to Paint the Front of Town Hall, or take any action relative thereto. 

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-FOUR:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $1,140.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to pay for Town Hall Repairs (replacement of basement windows and chimney cap) and cut back limbs over the roof, or take any action relative thereto. 

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-FIVE:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $1,710.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to rebuild and bring up to code the stairs, handrail and platform at the Transfer Station, or take any action relative thereto. 

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-SIX:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $9,500.00 from the General Stabilization Fund to hire the Collins Center to provide an Elected Officials Compensation Study and an Employee Handbook, or take any other action in relation thereto.

ARTICLE TWENTY-SEVEN:  To see if the Town will vote to Raise and Appropriate the sum of $10,000.00 to establish a Reserve Fund to provide for extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures, as provided by M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 6, as amended, or take any other action in relation thereto.

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-EIGHT:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate as available funds the total sum of $233,607.00 from Chapter 90 funds or any other amounts from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for highway construction and/or maintenance, or take any other action in relation thereto.

Selectboard Action: Recommended               Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE TWENTY-NINE:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $451,937.00 from Free Cash to the General Stabilization Fund, or to take any other action in relation thereto.

Selectboard Action: Recommended                         Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE THIRTY:  To see if the Town will vote to Appropriate and Transfer the sum of $21,017.00 from the Fiscal Year 2021 Vocation Education Account to the Conwell Stabilization Fund, or take any other action in relation thereto.

Selectboard Action: Recommended                Finance Comm. Action: Recommended

ARTICLE THIRTY-ONE: To see if the Town will vote to accept M.G.L. c.64N Section 3 and impose a local sales tax upon the sale of recreational marijuana originating within the Town by a vendor at a rate of 3% of the gross receipts of the vendor from the sale of recreational marijuana, marijuana products, and marijuana edibles, said excise to take effect on the first day of the calendar quarter commencing at least thirty days after such vote of Town Meeting, or take any other action in relation thereto.

ARTICLE THIRTY-TWO:  To see if the Town will vote to Authorize the Selectboard to enter into contracts with the Massachusetts Highway Department for construction and/or maintenance of public highways for the Fiscal Year 2022, and further to authorize the Selectboard on behalf of the Town to accept any money from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for highway construction and/or maintenance, or to take any other action in relation thereto.

ARTICLE THIRTY-THREE:  To see if the Town will vote to Authorize the Selectboard to apply for Massachusetts State or Federal grant programs and to further Authorize the Selectboard to expend monies received through such programs following a public hearing, or take any other action in relation thereto.

ARTICLE THIRTY-FOUR:  To see if the Town will vote to Rescind the following Authorized and Unissued debt for:

$28,000 – Purchase of the Moran Property

$3,500 – HWY 5-ton Dump Truck

HWY Loader – $19,000

or take any other action in relation thereto.

ARTICLE THIRTY-FIVE: To see how the Town will act on a Citizen Petition, the full text of which is as follows:

Proposal to amend Zoning By-Law Section V.l Dimensional Requirements

On January 14th, 2021, the Governor signed into law An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth (the “Act”).  The Act is a sweeping economic recovery and reform bill which includes several changes to the Zoning Act, G.L.c.40A.  The provisions of this Act are a response to the profound housing affordability crisis in the state of Massachusetts.  To increase housing choice, the Act makes it easier for municipalities to amend their zoning bylaws and ordinances to allow for changes that enable multifamily, mixed use development or increased housing density.

The Town of Worthington has the highest median house value of any surrounding town. Given the lack of affordable housing, the proposed By-Law change would decrease the required frontage, enabling more homes to be built using the existing roadways and infrastructure of the Town.  Decreased lot frontage will also provide lower cost building lots, making it more feasible to construct starter homes for young families in the community.

This is a petition to place an article on the agenda for the annual Town Meeting currently scheduled for Saturday May 1, 2021.  This petition has been signed by the required number of people and the signatures have been verified by the Town Clerk:

To see of the Town will vote to amend the first sentence of Zoning By-Law Section V Dimensional Requirements:  1.  A Dwelling, principal building or principal structure hereinafter erected shall be located on a lot having not less than a minimum area of two (2) acres and a minimum frontage of 400ft measured contiguously along a single street, either public or private, which the lot abuts.

The proposed amendment would reduce the frontage requirement of this section from 400′ to 280′. The amended By-Law Section V.l reads as follows:

Section V- Dimensional Requirements

1.  A Dwelling, principal building or principal structure hereinafter erected shall be located on a lot having not less than a minimum area of two (2) acres and a minimum frontage of 280ft measured contiguously along a single street, either public or private, which the lot abuts.

;or otherwise act thereon.

ARTICLES FOR FY 2020

ARTICLE THIRTY-SIX:  To see if the Town will vote to pay a prior-year bill in the amount of $27.02 to Nutmeg International Trucks, Inc. from the FY21 Fire Expense Account,or take any other action in relation thereto.

And you are directed to serve this warrant by posting attested copies thereof at the Town Hall and outside at Corners seven days at least before the time of said meeting.

Hereof, fail not and make due return of this warrant with your doings thereon to the Town Clerk at the time and place of meeting as aforesaid.

Given under our hands April 23, 2021            I have served this warrant as directed.

                                                                                   Date of Posting:                                   

                                                           Constable

Selectboard 

ATTEST

GLOSSARY

APPROPRIATION: An authorization granted by a Town Meeting to make expenditures and to incur obligations for specific purposes.  A “specific” appropriation is carried forward year to year until spent for the designated purpose or transferred by Town Meeting vote to another account.

AVAILABLE FUNDS: Free Cash, reserves and unexpended balances available for appropriation.

CHERRY SHEETS: Named for the cherry colored paper on which they were originally printed, the Cherry Sheets are the official notification of the next fiscal year’s state aid and assessments to communities and regional school districts from the Commissioner of Revenue.  State aid to municipalities and regional school districts consists of two major types — distributions and reimbursements.  Distributions provide funds based on formulas while reimbursements provide funds for costs incurred during a prior period for certain programs or services.  In addition, communities may receive “offset items” that must be spent on specific programs.  Cherry Sheet Assessments are advance estimates of state assessments and charges.  Local assessors are required to use these figures in setting the local tax rate.  Because these figures are estimates, it should be noted that based on filing requirements and/or actual information, the final aid or assessment may differ.

ESTIMATED RECEIPTS: Estimate of money to be received by the Town from various sources, such as MVE excise, licenses, fees, state reimbursements, etc.  The estimate is deducted by the Assessors from the gross amount to be raised by taxes when the tax rate is set.

EXCESS LEVY CAPACITY: The difference between the levy limit and the amount of real and personal property taxes actually levied in a given year

FISCAL YEAR: A twelve-month period commencing July l, to which the annual budget applies and at the end of which a Town determines its financial position and the results of its operations.

FREE CASH: Unrestricted funds from operations of the previous fiscal year that are certified by the Director of Accounts as available for appropriation.  Remaining funds include unexpended free cash from the previous year, receipts in excess of estimates shown on the tax recapitulation sheet, and unspent amounts in budget line-items.  Unpaid property taxes and certain deficits reduce the amount that can be certified as free cash The calculation of free cash is based on the balance sheet as of June 30, which is submitted by the town accountant. A community should maintain a free cash balance to provide a hedge against unforeseen expenditures. Maintenance of an adequate free cash level is not a luxury but a necessary component of sound local fiscal management.  Credit rating agencies and other members of the financial community expect municipalities to maintain free cash reserves and make judgments regarding a community’s fiscal stability, in part, on the basis of free cash.   “Free Cash” is also referred to as “Available Funds”.

OVERLAY: (Overlay Reserve or Allowance for Abatements and Exemptions) An account established annually to fund anticipated property tax abatements, exemptions and uncollected taxes in that year.  The overlay reserve is not established by the normal appropriation process, but rather is raised on the tax rate recapitulation sheet.

OVERLAY SURPLUS: Unused, accumulated amount of the Overlay for various years, which may be voted for any lawful purpose and reverts to Free Cash at the end of each Fiscal Year.

RESERVE FUND: An amount set aside annually within the budget to provide a funding source for extraordinary unforeseen expenditures. The finance committee can authorize transfers from this fund for “extraordinary or unforeseen” expenditures.  Other uses of the fund require budgetary transfers by town meeting.

STABILIZATION FUND: A fund designed to accumulate amounts for capital and other future spending purposes, although it may be appropriated for any lawful purpose.  (MGL Ch. 40 § 5B).  Towns may appropriate into this fund in any year by a simple majority vote. Any interest shall be added to and become a part of the fund.  A two-thirds vote of town meeting is required to appropriate money from the stabilization fund.

SURPLUS REVENUE: The amount by which the cash, accounts receivable and other assets exceed the liabilities and reserves.

TOWN MEETING WARRANT: A written order calling an Annual or Special Town Meeting and containing a list of items to be acted upon. Warrants are posted at the official posting place.

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1 Comment

  1. Ted Claydon & Jerrilee Cain says:

    It would be refreshing to see some expenditures that the finance committee
    did not approve . . . every year the town expenditures increase. The supposition,
    it seems, that residents are “bottomless pits” of money to address the tax levies
    the town imposes. Your report states that Worthington has the most valuable
    realestate compared to other hill towns . . . is that true ? Or is it because our tax
    assessors simply continue to raise valuations to meet an ever increasing budget
    compiled by our local Selectmen and Finance Committees ?? Stop spending !! Get
    rid of the school . . . go back to Gateway . . . the number of Worthington students
    that attend Russell Conwell School does not warrant the expense the school imposes. Middle Class residents cannot afford your spending decisions.

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