Council member Bill Widmer expressed concern that the town's expenditures are going up faster than its revenues, but other council members said the elimination of the parcel tax accounts for most of that difference.
The draft general fund budget shows $13.92 million in spending and $16.78 million in revenues for the 2018-19 fiscal year. During the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the town is expected to receive just slightly more in revenues — $16.84 million — and have slightly less spending at $13.21 million.
The budget projections show the town ending the coming fiscal year with $18.67 million. After putting $5.38 million into reserves, Atherton should have $13.29 million in unallocated funds that could go toward paying for the new civic center. (The town hopes to award the contract for constructing the new library, administration, police and city council buildings in early June.)
The town's revenues have steadily increased since the 2015-16 fiscal year, Mr. Barron's report shows — from $14.39 million to an estimated $16.84 million this fiscal year. During that same period, spending has risen from $10.57 million to $13.21 million.
Property taxes accounted for a vast majority of that revenue — from $9.97 million in 2015-16 to an estimated $11.86 million this fiscal year.
One of the town's biggest expenditure increases: payments that go toward employee retirements. Those required payments have gone up from $442,229 in 2015-16 to an estimated $868,573 in 2018-19.
"It looks to me like we've managed our expenditures quite well," said council member Rick DeGolia. "But the thing that gives me heartburn is this stuff around (the state's retirement system)," he said. "It's horrible."
Council member Bill Widmer agreed. "I really think we need to pay attention to that," he said. "If you think it's bad now, it's going to get worse."
The town needs to work with state officials and elected representatives to change the system, he said.
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