In awe of the budget process


Published: 04/22/2022 16:03:53

Modified: 04/22/2022 16:02:38

Small towns across western Massachusetts prepare for the annual Town Meeting. This process, rooted in volunteerism and democracy, needs to be valued and recognized. As one of seven volunteers on Shutesbury’s Finance Committee, I am impressed at how the FY23 budget that we have been working on for the past nine months is coming together. We have had to adapt to the changes COVID has brought – Zoom meetings, rising costs and uncertainty in our individual and collective lives. We relied on the support and input from our legislators, all of our city councils, our city manager, local and regional volunteer boards, our staff and our citizens. An unbelievable amount of time of listening, thinking and discussing goes into achieving a balanced budget. That year, Shutesbury’s Finance Committee examined a variety of challenges – managing a refuse collection and disposal contract whose costs were doubling, the need for a new dump truck, police and fire engines, the pay adjustment for employees whose pay was well below private lies sector, a financial software upgrade, negotiating a regional school evaluation formula and finding funds to replace our school roof and 120 year old library, to name just the big things. The 178 lines in our suggested budget represent hours and hours of research, discussion, and problem-solving. Hopefully, as we present this to our citizens at the annual town hall meeting on May 21, two more points will come to mind: to the staff, service providers, and volunteers who do the work that keeps our city running, some measure of to show respect; and recognition of all taxpayers as we support each other, needed services and our city’s infrastructure…. all for the common good.

Susie Mosher

Shutesbury Finance Committee


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