EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 4, 2013

Selectmen, manager prepare for 2014 spending

NORTH ANDOVER — Let the number crunching begin.

Town Manager Andrew Maylor said last night revenue for the community, including real estate taxes, auto excise payments, fees and other receipts, is expected to rise by 2.37 percent for the next fiscal year, which will start July 1, 2014.

Asked if that will mean a 2.37 percent limit in spending increases for town departments, Maylor said it’s too soon to speculate about that. The expected revenue increase is only a preliminary estimate, he said.

Maylor and the selectmen presented the Budget Policy Statement for fiscal year 2015. Much of it was developed during a strategic planning session they held Oct. 21.

Mayor said a community’s revenue is difficult to predict. Motor vehicle excise payments are uncertain, he said. In years past, they have risen as much as 10 percent, but in other years, hardly at all, he said.

Income from interest has declined, he said. On the other hand, Maylor said he has seen “small incremental signs of improvement” in the economy.

The Budget Policy Statement calls for improving the town’s financial condition by keeping its annual budgets balanced and building up reserve accounts. The statement also recommends that the town promote economic development along Route 125 between Sutton Street and the Haverhill city line, upgrade streets and sidewalks, plant trees in neighborhoods, and explore hiring a public relations firm to promote North Andover as a place to live and work.

Maylor said he will present more details on next year’s budget within the next several weeks. One large factor that won’t be known until next spring is how much help will be coming from the state.

The total budget for the present fiscal year is $84.3 million. Last year, town departments were allowed to increase their spending by 3.75 percent.

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