The following is a letter At-Large City Councilor Cheryl Tully Stoll sent Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer. It was also sent to Framingham Source as a letter to the editor.
Dear Mayor Spicer,
At the City Financial Summit last week you requested that city councilors contact you with our budget priorities for FY 2019.
What follows are my priorities for the FY 2019 budget.
Free cash should only be used to fund the OPEB deficit and contribute to the stabilization fund. Free cash is a non-recurring revenue source and I do not support
using it to fund on-going operating expenses.
The budget should not result in a tax increase of more than 1.75%.
I support the addition of a part-time energy manager (without benefits), which should easily pay for itself and help us reduce our carbon footprint as well as help us develop more sustainable practices. As time goes on, if this position is found to justify its existence financially, it could be expanded in future years.
The school superintendent has done a remarkable job of zero-based budgeting from the building level up. Every position and crayon had to be justified before they were added to the budget. The city side of the house needs to do the same thing.
In the past, the budget was the Town Manager’s budget; this is the first time in two decades where the budget belongs to an elected official with the power to order changes in how expenses are justified. I would hope that you take the opportunity to do so.
We are taxing senior citizens out of their homes and driving businesses to other communities.
This is not due to a revenue problem; it’s due to a spending problem.
There are services and programs that I would like to see Framingham provide, but the funding needs to either come from the state or federal governments or through internal cost savings. Picking the taxpayer’s pockets any deeper should not be a consideration.
In fact it could be a way to pre-defeat a debt-exclusion override for the Fuller School.
More than 40% of Framingham’s workforce is eligible for retirement over the next few years. Re-evaluating each department’s operations with this in mind to find ways to work more efficiently and smarter should be happening. The automatic backfilling of positions that may no longer be necessary is not good financial management.
I thank you in advance for your consideration regarding this important matter.
Cheryl Tully Stoll
At-Large City Councilor