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Money to cover shortfall awaiting OK from town counsel

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SHIRLEY — Town officials continue to struggle to close the deficit hovering over the town for the current fiscal year.

Finance Committee representatives attended the March 10 Board of Selectmen meeting to discuss ways to address the pending deficit for the current fiscal year.

The largest figure contributing to the deficit is a $220,000 shortfall in the school budget.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Malcolm “Mac” Reid and school business manager Evan Katz, along with School Committee members, were at the meeting to talk about the issue as well.

Plans to offset the budget shortfall by transferring money from two trust funds are in process, pending legal counsel, said selectmen Chairman Leonardo “Chip” Guercio. The selectmen agreed to have town counsel review the option and report the information to the school district, he said.

The town may offer to cover a portion of the shortfall as a supplemental appropriation on the Special Town Meeting warrant, said Selectman Enrico Cappucci. However, it won’t be near the $220,000 needed to cover the deficit, he warned.

A revenue source is required to place such a warrant article, Finance Committee Vice Chairman Ellen Doiron pointed out.

Reid and Katz also explained the root of the deficit. It’s primarily comprised of the costs to serve a special-education student, they said.

No new positions have been included in this year’s budget, said Reid.

Doiron asked Reid for the overall non-union payroll amount in comparison to last year.

Reid said he’ll forward that information to the selectmen and Finance Committee.

Town administrator Kyle Keady also reviewed a list of cost-saving initiatives.

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