By Tom Reilly
The Board, as it does annually, approved a request to increase the town’s capital stabilization fund by 2.5 percent, a plan created in 2007 by former selectman Kevin Geraghty as part of the override for the purchase of the Shaw Farm.
Smith said this was an annual request he makes to the Board to allow the capital stabilization fund to grow at the same percentage the town does each year, minus new growth. He said this would increase the fund by $14,000, a small amount of money but “the big picture is that the capital stabilization fund is now a source of funding a large piece of funding a large piece of equipment—an engine for the fire department for the fire department that’s probably going to cost $750,000—and it’s all going to be funded through the capital stabilization plan.”
Smith said the reason he wanted to continue to increase this fund to give the town the ability to purchase property under a million dollars by using this plan.
Selectman Ken Stuart said anyone who was educated on this fund understood its purpose and “its brilliance.” He said the townspeople needed to understand this took some of the burden away from them and puts the burden on this fund.
Hall added the creation of this plan and the mechanism that funds it was “a stroke of genius” and the annual 2 ½ percent increase was built into it at the time of its inception.
“To not do this would be to alter the course that was set by the town back when it was decided to do this all those years ago,” said Hall. “We’re buying a very expensive fire truck this year that we’re not going to have to borrow to pay for because this fund is here.”
He noted the fund would continue to grow as the debt service from the funding of the purchase of the Shaw Farm property decreases, leading to more money going into this fund and thus allowing more capital purchases to be made without having to go out to borrowing.
Hebert said the fire truck would be purchased at the rate of $150,000 per year for five years, a piece of equipment the town needed but put off until there was enough money in the capital stabilization fund to pay for it.
“And we were conscious of everyone’s tax rate,” Hebert concluded.