Business Manager Dave Keniston estimates a budget shortfall of $202,000 for the fiscal year, which ended June 30. The final number could fluctuate because not all the accounts have been closed.
One problem was a $230,000 shortfall in the transportation budget, after a drop of 42 percent in the number of full-paying bus passengers last year. The falloff was largely an economic response after the School Committee raised bus fees from $100 to $300 before the start of the last school year.
In addition, a mercury spill from a broken barometer in the high school cost $52,000 in cleanup; a boiler broke at Higgins Middle School, prompting a $34,000 fix; and there were increases in the cost of oil and electricity, Keniston said.Further, the city spent more than $100,000 on overtime and contractors to clear rooftops after a series of devastating storms dumped piles of snow last winter. The city had hoped for federal funds to help carry the load, but the government kicked in only $3,000, Keniston said.
It has been proven many times before that if you raise a fee some will choose not to pay........... simply because their budget can not afford it.