By Ashlyn Kelly
FRAMINGHAM – The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board (MWRTA) approved its preliminary FY23 budget during its meeting on April 26.
The preliminary Fiscal Year 2023 budget is $12,853,573.
The current budget is $11,775,261.
The proposed fiscal year 2023 budget, which would begin on July 1, is an increase of $1,078,312, or roughly a 9.2% increase.
This preliminary FY23 budget is based on current service, so the budget has neither an increase or decrease in service.
John Glynn, MWTRA chief financial officer, said the increases in the budget are due to fuel cost increases, projected payroll, and the cost of contracting with Keissling Transportation, Inc.
Ed Carr, MWRTA administrator, told the Board they are required by statute to bring a budget forward in April but they will not have the final numbers until June.
The MWRTA’s budget is one hold until the Massachusetts House & Senate can complete their budget process.
The MWRTA vote in April was to approve the current preliminary budget. It passed 10-0-0.
Ashland, Dover, Framingham, Holliston, Marlborough, Milford, Natick, Sudbury, Wellesley & Weston voted.
Representatives from Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Sherborn, Southborough, and Wayland were all absent from the meeting.
Colette Aufranc, a member from Wellesley and part of the Audit and Finance Committee, said the budget was “fairly conservative.”
She added the budget was adjusted due to “consultant fees for the administrator search, a change in the audit fee, … maybe a slightly higher fee, and an increase in the fuel budget,” and the committee did discuss “looking into longer-term fuel contracts in the future and the need to revise the budget for additional metro transit pilot service costs” if the expanded pilot service is successful.
Joshua Ostroff, a member from Natick, asked if there was a sense of what the higher number for the budget would be if the amendments are passed in the Massachusetts Senate.
Carr said the increase would be around $200,000.
The Board also delayed the ratification of the administrator recommendation for an external auditor due to the committee not completing its work.
Aufranc said the committee will have a recommendation “within the next week to 10 days.”
During board member comments, Carr said they have reached an “impasse” with implementing fares “due to supply chain issues” with some of the machinery needed.
He added, “It’s going to be difficult to meet our May 2 goal” so they will now be aiming for July 1.
Carr also told the board the current chair, Joseph Nolan, will be taking nominations for chair, vice-chair, and clerk for the next fiscal year.
Finally, the board welcomed Kevin McCabe as the new member from Dover.
Ashlyn Kelly is a Spring 2022 SOURCE intern. She is a is a senior communication arts major with minors in political science and journalism at Framingham State University. When she is not writing an article, you can usually find her in a theatre.