OBSERVER REPORT: Finance Committee, Feb. 13

Marblehead League of Women Voters Observer Corps
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Observer Corps Reports are provided by volunteers from the Marblehead League of Women Voters. To learn more about the League and its activities, see

BOARD: Finance Committee

DATE: Monday, Feb. 13

LOCATION: Abbot Hall/hybrid

LWVM OBSERVER: Katharine Redmond

MEMBERS PRESENT: Alec Goolsby, Pat Franklin, Cameron Staples, Timothy Shotmeyer, Terra Samuels, Michael O’Neil, Molly Teets, Eric Knight, Michael Janko

GUEST: Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer

Update on FY24 budget process

The town has reached a long-anticipated budget crisis, Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer reported. Ongoing baseline expenses have grown faster than available revenues for yet another year, and there is not sufficient “free cash” to close the gap. There is a structural deficit, and to submit a balanced budget at Town Meeting, departments will need to make budget cuts, which will be visible and painful to all.

Kezer is working with department heads, and Finance Committee members are meeting with their liaison groups developing these painful budgets.

At the same time, Kezer and the Finance Committee liaison groups will continue meetings to hammer out an alternative budget, which would require an override to Proposition 2 1/2. Kezer aims to create budgets that accurately reflect the cost of doing the town’s business.

Part of the discussion will be to decide if the override should address the problem for FY 24 only or build a more long-term plan. (The “Town of Marblehead State of the Town” presentation is very informative. It is posted on the Town of Marblehead website under “Home/News”).

Tentative schedule of budget-review meetings

The Finance Committee’s tentative schedule of meetings to review budgets is as follows:

  • Monday, March 20: Health and Waste, Library, Retirement.
  • Monday, March 27: Recreation and Parks, Assessor, Cemetery, Town Clerk.
  • Monday, April 3: Select Board, Schools, Water and Sewer.
  • Monday, April 10: Warrant Hearing.

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