With expenditures rising at a rate greater than revenues, the Town is faced with the decision to reduce services to balance the budget or raise the Prop 2 ½ limit on property tax growth to maintain services. The Town’s override proposal also prioritizes the need to:
- Maintain the services we already provide by eliminating our current structural operating deficit;
- Restore critical services that were cut during the pandemic;
- Make our roads safe and resilient while freeing up grant resources for comprehensive “complete streets” planning;
- Invest in increased planning capacity so we can grow sustainably as a community, strengthen our commercial property tax base, and rely less on overrides in the future;
- Fund long-term solutions to our waste disposal and pest control problems;
- Take concrete steps towards our fossil-fuel-free future;
- Preserve our critical natural resources, especially our unique tree canopy;
- Provide expanded programming to our senior citizens;
- Reorganize key municipal departments to make them more efficient; and
- Pay competitive wages to our employees so we can attract and retain talent that will provide the best services possible to the community.
Brookline’s schools also face a critical shortfall of over $3M this fiscal year that is set to grow, even after PSB has identified $1.85M in cuts it intends to make next year. While PSB was able to use one-time federal funds to prevent major cuts earlier in the pandemic, it now faces a need to move the ongoing costs once covered by those funds to the operating budget. PSB also seeks limited funding for public initiatives such as a no-fee bus service in South Brookline and redesigning the World Languages program.