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Town Council to vote on 2015 budget

GREENFIELD — Town Council will vote on the mayor’s proposed $4.9 million balanced budget for 2015 during a special meeting on Wednesday night.

Mayor William Martin has proposed an increase of 3 percent over this year’s budget of $43.7 million, meaning there are no planned layoffs or service cuts for the next year, which begins July 1.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the studio at Greenfield Community Television, 393 Main St. The Town Council Ways and Means Committee will meet in the studio at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and make its recommendations to the full council later that night.

Martin said there may be more increases to some departments, like police and schools, later in the fall, when the town learns what it has in “free cash” surplus. Once the state certifies Greenfield’s surplus, the town can create a supplemental budget, if needed.

The mayor’s proposal gives police a $106,415, or 3.9 percent, increase over this year and fire a $55,755, or 2.9 percent, increase.

Schools will receive 3.8 percent more, or a $677,323 increase over this year, if Town Council approves, while public works will see $40,910 more next year.

The library, Recreation Department and veterans services will also receive increases.

“We’re expecting a $50,000 increase from the state in school money and $140,000 in unrestricted money, but that’s not a lot,” said Martin last month. “We’re doing a lot of this on our own.”

Martin said he was able to increase most budgets because of increased revenues and savings the town has realized. He said the town has saved a lot through its green, energy-efficient efforts.

Martin promised his 2014 spending plan would “hold the line” and not increase by much, but if departments could just hold on, they would see an increase in the 2015 budget, and it appears he has made good on that promise.

Town Council cannot add money to any department’s budget except the school department’s. If it were to decide to add to schools on Wednesday, it would have to take money from somewhere else in the budget. Council can, however, reduce any department’s budget, if it sees fit.

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