Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Finance Committee, February 12, 2024

Controller’s Budget

During the review of the controller’s budget, issues with the display of the adjusted budget were encountered. Salaries were discussed, with adjustments highlighted to correct them to the appropriate amounts. Recommended adjustments to accommodate changes in the M schedule, pertaining to managerial staff salaries, were mentioned. This would impact the issuance of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). A vote was taken after a conversation about collective bargaining agreements and the budget was increased to $362,370 to be taken from taxation.

IT Budget

An update was provided on the IT budget, identifying a discrepancy in the manager of enterprise applications’ salary due to a late hire. A vote on the adjusted figure was required, with the new taxation total being $1,255,953 – showing an increase from the previously budgeted amount. Further discussion followed regarding infrastructure and disaster recovery planning, removal of unused copper wire, and an anticipated increase in network maintenance costs for future years. Votes to reconsider and approve the adjusted budget were made.

Snow and Ice Budget

The Snow and Ice budget was discussed, emphasizing the method of using a ten-year rolling average to determine the budget amount. The current spend for the fiscal year was reported, along with the costs and challenges of hiring vendors for snow plowing services. A motion was passed to approve the snow and ice budget at $1,172,013.

Warrant Articles Discussion

A thorough review of the warrant articles was conducted, with focus given to items that might require financial attention or relate to the finance committee. Specific articles talked about included ones on private ways, MBTA service, town meeting start time, senior citizen property tax exemption, library construction program match, and the revolving fund for private way repairs. Notably, questions arose regarding the financial implications of senior citizen property tax exemption changes and the suggestion to ask the assessors about potential costs.

Additional Budget Reviews

The meeting concluded with a summary of additional budgets discussed and an outline of future agendas. Upcoming meetings were scheduled to address Human Resources, Capital Planning, Minuteman, Community Preservation, water bodies, and school budgets. Requests were made for committees and commissions that did not request increases to send in budgets by the 26th, and votes were taken to approve specific budgets for celebrations and events at predetermined amounts. There was also a request for further clarification on the potential sale of items from the Robbins Library collection.



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