Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Finance Committee, October 05, 2023

Article 15 – Collective Bargaining

Alex Magee, the deputy town manager, presented on Article 15 regarding collective bargaining for the Arlington Police Patrol Officers Association contract. Key points:

  • Seeking to transfer $477,000 from the salary reserve to fund retroactive payments for FY22-24 and increase the police department budget by $126,909.
  • This will provide runway to get through FY24. Police have several vacancies right now so they will manage finances by not immediately filling all positions.
  • Contract includes 1.5% increase in FY22, 2% plus step movement in FY23, and 4% market adjustment plus step increases in FY24 to get patrol officers above the 72nd percentile of comparable towns.
  • Also includes adding Juneteenth as a holiday and 2% wage increase once body cameras are implemented.

The Finance Committee unanimously voted to support Article 15.

Article 2 – Override

The Finance Committee already voted to support the override and reflect the Select Board’s commitment when discussing Article 2. No further discussion was held.

Zoning Articles

Member Charles Foskett presented an analysis estimating the financial impact of increasing housing capacity under the MBTA Communities Act. Key points:

  • Looked at impact of increasing housing density on revenues and expenses. Revenues increase based on occupied square footage while expenses increase based on population.
  • At higher density, population grows faster than revenue. Model showed a deficit of $4-17 million if capacity increased 15% immediately.
  • Recommended taking a conservative approach to capacity.

Annie LaCourt presented a rebuttal focused on critiquing assumptions in Charlie’s model and uncertainties in projecting impact. Suggested analyzing last 10 years of population growth instead.

After extensive discussion, the Finance Committee voted 10-5 to take no position on the zoning articles. Main reasons were lack of consensus data to recommend a number and zoning not being a typical area opined on by FinCom.



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