By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER – Town Manager Andrew Maylor and the School Committee will not be fighting over $142,630.
Maylor presented his budget recommendations for all town departments to the selectmen last night and said he will support the spending plan approved by the School Committee on Feb. 13. The committee voted in favor of the $39,863,136 budget crafted by Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson.
That’s 4.12 percent higher than the school budget that was passed last year. Because Maylor indicated in November he would allow a 3.75 percent increase for all town departments, there appeared to be at least the possibility of a fiscal struggle when the School Committee backed Hutchinson’s numbers.
Had Maylor held the schools to a 3.75 percent increase, Hutchinson and the committee would have had to pare their budget by $142,630 or fight for the extra money at the annual Town Meeting on May 21.
Maylor’s total recommended budget is $84,297,553. That’s slightly more than 2 percent above last year’s spending – “a fairly modest increase,” the town manager said.
Besides the schools, that number includes $18,216,355 for general government – public safety, public works, health – and $9,893,265 for water and sewer costs and the Stevens Estate. Other costs include debt service.
Maylor said he was able to budget $310,000 less for employees’ health insurance than the amount approved last year. That savings resulted from the town’s decision to join the state Group Insurance Commission, he said.
Selectman Richard Vaillancourt asked Maylor how he was able to close the $142,630 gap with the school budget. Maylor said recently he had more realistic numbers to work with, including state aid estimates, than he did in November.
Maylor noted the Legislature has yet to approve a budget, so state aid numbers are still not definite.
He said his recommended budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1 assumes state aid will be the same this year as last year.
The Finance Committee will be reviewing Maylor’s budget during the next six weeks. Town Meeting will have the final world.