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Officials Outline Financial Recommendations

Milford's "financial team" has produced a series of recommendations for the town's finances for the remainder of the current fiscal year that include spending an extra $600,000 on road repairs, using $500,000 to reduce the property tax rate and putting $250,000 away in the town's savings account.

The team members – Town Administrator Louis Celozzi, Financial Analyst Paul Abbondanza, Town Treasurer Barbara Auger, Town Accountant Zachary Taylor and Town Counsel Gerald Moody – made the following recommendations:

• Funding all spending articles proposed at the October 24 Special Town Meeting;

• Putting $250,000 in the "stabilization" (savings) account;

• Using $500,000 from "free cash" to reduce the tax rate;

• Putting $200,000 in the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) account (OPEB is an accounting term involving taxable benefits that a retiree can receive, such as life insurance or healthcare insurance premiums.);

• Leaving an excess levy capacity (the amount the town could still raise from property taxes) of $63,266;

• Leaving $1,090,747 is the town's "free cash" account;

• Setting $600,000 of that "free cash" amount aside for road repairs above and beyond the Highway Surveyor's budgeted amount;

Town Administrator Louis Celozzi told the Board of Selectmen on October 17 that the financial team's recommendations differed slightly from those offered by the Finance Committee.

"I think it's a good, comprehensive approach," Selectmen Chairman Dino DeBartolomeis said. "It's a very conservative, well-balanced approach to manage finances at this time," Selectman Brian Murray said. The extra funding for road repairs would allow the Highway Department to "get caught up on the streets that need some work," he added. "It represents good financial discipline," Selectman William Buckley said.

While using $500,000 to offset the property tax rate "may not seem much each year, it's certainly significant" over multiple years, as the cumulative effect over the past years has added up to about $7 million in tax reductions, Buckley explained.




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