February 25, 2010
The Honorable Members of the Board of Selectmen
26 Bryant Street
Dedham, MA 02026
Re: Fiscal 2011 Budget Message
Dear Honorable Board:
Enclosed are my recommendations for the Fiscal 2011 Dedham Town Budget
In accordance with the Massachusetts General Laws, I am presenting this balanced budget to both you and the Finance Committee for your review and deliberation. I would like to thank the Director of Finance, Ms. Mariellen Murphy and Mr. William Marroncelli, Finance/Management Assistant for compiling and adjusting the original budget along with my proposed recommendations which resulted in the document that is before you. I would also like to thank Mrs. Nancy Baker, Assistant Town Administrator, for her valuable input and insight into the budget process.
This Budget Message includes the use of the Long Range Forecasting (LRF) Model. The LRF encompasses all of the financial strengths of the Town‘s budget process and allows us the ability to forecast out five years to FY 2015. From a town management perspective this valuable tool allows us to take ideas, proposals, and new requirements and translate them into the most likely financial reality and forecast them into the future.
I appreciate the full cooperation I have received from all of the Town Departments and Committees who have provided information and input into this document. Over the next few pages, I will attempt to highlight the significant aspects of this budget proposal so that each of the respective Board and Committee members will understand the actions and philosophy used in developing the financial recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget.
Fiscal 2011 Budget Strategy
Over the years, Dedham has maintained a conservative but progressive fiscal practice. This practice continues to serve the Town well during this most challenging fiscal period.
The Fiscal 2011 Budget is balanced and based on a theme of maintaining basic services in a challenging fiscal environment. Dedham has continued to move forward during the past year when most communities were forced to take a step back. This administration continues to manage our way through a daunting fiscal obstacle course. To the credit of many contributors to Dedham’s local government, the Town has remained in the enviable position where we continue to provide quality services to residents while State Aid to the Town has now dwindled 7% of our overall revenues. Some could argue that having less State Aid is a direct negative impact on local services while others could argue that being less dependent on State revenues places us in a more predictable decision making position to provide those same services.
While the Town remains in a position of not expanding our service capabilities, we continue to take steps to get the most out of existing services. During challenging fiscal periods, opportunities emerge for making government more efficient. It’s times like this that cause the administration and its chief policy makers to no longer accept the “same old practice” as the norm and challenge people to ask the simple question- Why? The question “why” takes on new meaning when we look at how we operate various Town functions. During the past year, I suggested that the following “whys” be evaluated:
· Evaluate the Endicott Estate Operations to determine if the current staff design will allow the Town to maximize the revenue potential at the Estate. The Town has made a significant investment in the Estate during the past five years and now would be a good time to set a business and staffing plan in place that will allow the Town the ability to maximize revenue opportunities at this facility,
· Evaluate the current Canine Control function to see if this could be expanded to an Animal Control function but performed on a regional basis with other Towns,
· Evaluate the maintenance staffing between the Dedham Parks and Recreation Department and the Department of Public Works to determine if any consolidation opportunities exist,
· Evaluate the Central Dispatch function in Dedham to determine if this could be achieved on a regional basis. Regional Dispatch is performed successfully in other parts of the country and has recently been given strong consideration in this region,
· Evaluate the payroll and accounting functions between the Town’s Finance Department and the Dedham School Department to see if any consolidation options exist in these areas. These functions are not significantly different on either sides of government and this has been discussed as a consolidation opportunity in the past,
· Making another attempt to determine if a centralized Facility Maintenance Department can be established between the Town and School Departments.
While only limited progress was made during the past year in evaluating each of the ideas described above, it is never too late to further consider these and other options on how we could approach this local government differently. Therefore one of the strategies I am suggesting as part of this spending plan is to establish an Efficient Government Task Force with the ability to explore these and other municipal ideas to see if (1) any of the ideas are feasible; (2) if any one idea is feasible, what would be the action plan to implement it and (3) what is the realistic time frame for achieving implementation? This Task Force should be comprised of members who can speak to the internal workings of the Town Government but should also include some outside perspective so that we not only focus on internal suggestions but that we also think “outside the box”.
During the past year another topic has emerged that also is worthy of further consideration. Dedham has undergone several changes in the past three years that some would argue will impact the Town’s public safety services. The construction of NewBridge on the Charles (HSL) and Legacy Place have each added new response scenarios to the Police,
Fire, Dispatch and Ambulance services in Dedham. While both projects are still too new to determine how much these new developments are impacting these services, the preliminary response from each of our public safety services is that the demand for services has taken a sudden rise. Earlier in the year the Board of Selectmen set out as one of its goals to evaluate the public safety needs of Dedham and determine if we are properly staffed to meet the new needs of this community. As such, I am recommending to the Capital Planning Committee that the following action be taken:
· That the Town initiate a third party evaluation of the Town’s public safety staffing needs. In light of recent changes in our local economy some opinions have emerged that Dedham needs to increase its public safety presence while others have argued that the Town is either adequately or overstaffed in some areas. One way of determining this is to have an objective third party agency come in and evaluate this issue and provide some specific recommendations on what actions the Town should or should not take. This study should evaluate current staffing levels, current operating procedures and response levels to determine if efficiencies can be gained or if further staffing commitments should be considered. Conversely, the study should also determine if the current staffing levels are adequate and further determine if current standard operating procedures (SOPS) should be adjusted to improve efficiencies in any one of the public safety areas.
Prior to Fiscal 2010, we recognized that the fiscal horizon did not look promising so we began to plan for the inevitable slowing of the economy. This involved taking some specific steps to protect us against any significant disruption in services. These steps continued throughout Fiscal 2010 and have helped to position us for Fiscal 2011.
We have maintained a limited hiring freeze for all Town Departments. This limited hiring freeze means that not all positions are being filled when they become vacant. This does not mean that I have eliminated positions whenever this happens. Quite simply, it means that each position is subject to review by this Office to determine if the operation can continue to sustain services without the position being filled at this time; or to see if an alternative option could be enacted to continue to provide the service; or to see if a reduced level of service can be sustained in this area for the foreseeable future until an alternative method of providing the service can be achieved and the fiscal situation in the Town improves. There are certainly other considerations as well, but it is fair to say that a careful evaluation is made of each hiring action to determine how the Town can best afford and sustain the position being considered. In short, each hiring decision will continue to be considered on a case by case basis.
In terms of wages and salaries, we are including a 1% general salary adjustment for our personnel in Fiscal 2011. We will continue to honor our commitment to pay any step or longevity adjustments that employees are eligible to receive. All of the Town’s executed collective bargaining agreements were renegotiated to be effective on July 1, 2009 with a 1% salary adjustment. These Units are settled through Fiscal 2012 which includes a 2% salary adjustment in the final year. These same employees also accepted a 0% adjustment in Fiscal 2009. The exceptions to these settlements have been the Parks Union, the Police Patrolmen and the Police Sergeants and Lieutenants. We will continue to meet with the remaining unsettled Units to see if agreements can be achieved in the next year.
Finally, our strategy for forming this Budget included a 15% reduction in non-personnel related costs. Certainly there are situations where this could not be achieved without crippling the operation. In such cases reasonable cuts were made. However, I am particularly proud of the effort that Department Heads made to help close the budget gap.
This year, the view from Beacon Hill is confusing at best. Governor Patrick has released his budget proposal for Fiscal 2011 and the results of that document indicate that Dedham’s overall allocation of State Aid would be level funded to the Fiscal 2010 level. There are some exceptions to the amount in that funding for State’s portion of the police Educational Incentive Program, otherwise known as the “Quinn Bill”, was cut further from the significant cut that was made in this 2010 line item. Fiscal forecasters say that the cost of fully funding the Quinn Bill would annually cost the State approximately $65 Million dollars. The Governor and the Legislature slashed this amount to $10 Million dollars in Fiscal 2010 and the Governor has proposed that this line be further reduced to $5 Million dollars in Fiscal 2011. This reduction in funding has been the subject of statewide debate and controversy among local cities and towns and various Police organizations including Police Unions and Police Chiefs. The topic of debate, that remains unsettled at this time, is whether or not cities and towns remain obligated to fully fund Quinn Bill benefits if the State does not fully commit to its 50% funding obligation. It also has sparked debate on what cities, towns and police personnel should do about addressing this salary factor as we proceed beyond the “Quinn Bill” era. Dedham has continued to fully fund this educational incentive program until this debate is resolved on a state wide basis. It is also an open topic of discussion in collective bargaining.
Going back to the Governor’s “level funding” proposal, most city and town fiscal planners have major questions on how he intends to fund this proposal. In evaluating the State’s fiscal picture, year 2011 suggests that the State will have a structural budget deficit of $3 billion dollars. This was primarily created through the use of “one-time” revenues such a federal stimulus funds and State Stabilization Fund. Coincidentally, the practice of using one-time revenues is not allowed in Dedham’s budget building practices based on the Town’s policy limitation. In the State’s case, the use of one time revenues is allowed and has resulted in a large structural deficit. This means that without an infusion of more “one-time” or long-term “sustainable revenue” (revenue that generally recurs each year) the State cannot afford to provide the services that are supported by the one-time revenues. This suggests that if the State cannot realistically project revenue to fill the structural deficit first, it will likely be difficult to maintain a level funded State Aid package to cities and towns. In fact, many of my colleagues around the State are projecting a reduction in next year’s State Aid of 10-15% from Fiscal 2010 levels. At this time, we are using a 12.5% reduction as our State Aid factor. We will continue to monitor this number as the House and Senate file their Budget packages over the course of the next few months. There is also an outside possibility that there will be an “early resolution” between both branches regarding a State Aid package. This means that we might have an earlier answer as to what both the House and Senate would recommend for this budget factor. If not, history has shown that we would not have a final State Aid number until June or July of 2010.
Locally, our projected revenues continue to be a mirror image of the regional and national economies. One bright spot in next year’s revenue projections is our new growth number. We project that number to be $1.8 million dollars for next fiscal year. However, I will add a note of caution about this number. Much of this new growth is directly related to the new Legacy Place Development which opened in the summer and fall of 2009. Based on the timing of this development, Dedham will not realize the full extent of this revenue until Fiscal 2011. Now that the project is complete and almost fully operational, large swings in our new growth primarily due to two large development projects, do not appear to be a consideration in the Fiscal 2012 revenue plans. Overall, the Town’s building boom has subsided and both the Planning Department and the Building Departments have not identified any new major projects for development in calendar year 2010. This will likely have a chilling effect on local permit revenue and certainly on our new growth projections for Fiscal 2012.
The other new revenue source that the Town is now receiving, starting in Fiscal 2010, is the new taxes/PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) from Hebrew Senior Life for the NewBridge on the Charles development. Based on a negotiated commitment included as part of the Special Permit for this development, the Planning Board and Hebrew Senior Life agreed that a minimum PILOT payment of $650,000 would be provided to the Town by HSL if the projected tax revenue did not meet this minimum contribution. This payment commitment began in Fiscal 2010 with the first taxes/payment due to the Town in February of 2010. Additional revenue from the development may be forth-coming in future fiscal years; depending upon how successful NewBridge on the Charles is at attracting residents to this beautiful new campus. Similar to most developments of its kind, NewBridge has equally been impacted by the slow economy which in turn has impacted their marketing efforts for the development.
One other revenue component that has pleasantly surprised us during the past fiscal year is our motor vehicle excise tax collections. Based on our current observations we actually project this revenue to come in better than projected in Fiscal Year 2010. Again, this seems to be a phenomenon that is somewhat unique to Dedham. During the past year we anticipated this revenue stream would decline rather significantly based on the impact of the regional and national economy. We now anticipate this revenue to grow better than projected after evaluating the increased number of vehicles that are now “garaged” in Dedham. This relates primarily to the success in renting the new apartments located off of Rustcraft Road and Elm Street. We also expect to see an increase in vehicles from New Bridge on the Charles. In short, there were more cars to tax so the revenue stream did not decline as we had projected.
Fiscal 2011 Budget Summary
The Total Fiscal 2011 Budget, including all sources and uses of funds, is $88,448,752. Of this amount, the operating portion represents $78,247,073 or an increase of $2,039,993 over the current Fiscal 2010 operating budget. The $78,247,073 amount only reflects the proposed general operating expenses for the Town and the School Departments including fringe benefits and debt considerations. The non-operating amounts include such items as the Commonwealth and MWRA assessments.
The expenditures for the Fiscal 2011 Capital Plan are presently not reflected in the Operating Budget. I have only reported the requests that have been identified to date. The Capital Expenditures Committee and the Building Planning and Construction Committee will be meeting to prioritize the requests for funding at this time. Given the limited amount of available dollars for the Fiscal 2011 Operating Budget and by limiting the amount of borrowing action the Town should take in this difficult economic climate I anticipate recommending a limited Capital Spending Plan for the Annual Town Meeting. On a positive note, the Mitigation Committee has recently completed its work in recommending a spending plan of approximately $541,000 from a one-time mitigation payment of $750,000 received from Legacy Place. This will help to alleviate some of the pressure of addressing capital needs in the next fiscal year.
Despite my intentions to limit the requests to authorize any sizeable borrowing amounts in next Fiscal Year’s Capital Spending Plan, I do plan to recommend that we continue with our efforts to improve Dedham’s roads and sidewalks as prescribed by the Pavement Management Program. Since the start of this Program, this effort has been highly successful and largely supported by Dedham’s residents. Now that we have a plan and we have taken important steps toward implementing it, we should continue that effort; even if we are not able to fully support the financial commitment required in each year of the plan. Through the supportive efforts of the Public Works and Engineering Departments, Dedham has been able to maximize its improvements through a combination of local and State (Chapter 90) funding sources.
There are some other very important new pieces of information to report with respect to the Capital Planning efforts in Dedham. During the past year, Town Meeting approved the acceptance of the local option meals tax. This now means that effective on January 1, 2010, the State now charges a 7% sales tax for meals sold at Dedham restaurants. Three quarters of one percent (.75%) of the 7% sales tax will now come back to Dedham as local revenue from the State. At the same time that this action was passed, the Town Meeting also approved an action that would add an additional 2% tax to the existing 4% hotel/motel tax. This would then result in a new hotel/motel tax of 6%. Discussions have started on what the Town should do with this new revenue source. One idea that has gained support is the approach of setting aside these new funds to make debt payments for capital building renovations and new construction. The Town has worked hard to identify improvements to our existing capital facilities but has not been able to identify a funding source to pay for those improvements. This new revenue source could provide the Town with the opportunity to address this long standing need. The Board of Selectmen is committed to starting the debate over the course of the next fiscal year on how these funds would best be invested back into the community. In fact, the Board of Selectmen supported the creation of a Major Capital Facilities Stabilization Fund at the Special Town Meeting in November to help accomplish this goal. If future Town Meetings allow for the deposit of the new meals tax revenue and the new revenue from the hotel/motel taxes, this new fund could serve as a vital funding mechanism for major capital improvements.
Consistent with the need to address our aging capital facilities, the Town initiated an Investment Grade Audit of all Town and School Capital Buildings to determine if the Town should enter into Energy Services Contract (ESCO) to improve the energy efficiency of each of the buildings. The Town and School Departments have been working on this joint venture, consistent with the goals of the Board of Selectmen, to identify a series of energy efficiency improvements that could be self-funded by using the dollars saved by the reduced energy costs to our Town and School budgets. A report will be coming out in March 2010 that will provide the Town and the School Departments with the information needed to determine if certain improvements are worth pursuing and to determine which financial strategy would be the most feasible to achieve the improvements.
Finally, the Sustainable Dedham Committee has been working with the Environmental Coordinator, Virginia LeClair to identify other possible energy improvements that the Town could pursue through Federal and State funding sources. During the past year requests have been made through Congressman Steven Lynch to fund $500,000 in solar energy and roof improvements at Town Hall and at the Public Works Garage. A $150,000 grant request has also been made through new Green Communities Division at the State that would help the Town acquire new energy monitoring technologies that could be installed Town wide. Both of these grant requests have garnered support at both the federal and state levels of government.
Fiscal 2011 Revenue Forecast
The following highlights of the Revenue Forecast are described in detail below:
Tax Levy: A projected Tax Levy of $69,831,808 is presented in the calculation, which includes $1,800,000 in new growth. As was pointed out earlier, this new growth is due primarily to the additional value resulting from the Legacy Place Project. The amount included in the Levy for Exempt Debt is approximately $3,397,918. The Exempt Debt has increased by over $450,000 since last year. The reason for this anticipated increase is the expected debt service costs from the recently approved Avery School and Athletic Field Projects. A detailed listing of all Debt- exempt and non-exempt is included with the expenditure details.
State Aid: We are projecting a net decrease in funding for State Aid by the amount of $880,268. The total amount of State Aid is projected to be $6,202,027. This number is not based on the House Two proposal by the Governor but estimated on a regional survey of towns determine projected cuts. This amount reflects a 12.5% reduction in State Aid. State Aid represents approximately 7% of the Town’s total revenue base.
Local Receipts: We anticipate our Local Receipts to continue to decrease for the third year in a row. The estimated local receipts amount for FY2011 is programmed at $6,124,000 or a decrease of $1,543,126. Much of this anticipated decrease is based on the anticipated decrease in building permit revenue. However, as an offset against this decrease, property tax increases generated from the recently completed large scale projects will help fill this gap.
General Budget Considerations for Fiscal Year 2011
Wage Adjustments- I am including a general cost of living increase of 1% for employees. However, many salaries will continue to increase beyond this amount since we will continue to fund any step or longevity increases that have been previously committed to staff members.
Vacant Positions- As a strategy for addressing lower revenue projections, I have taken a hard look at staffing situations throughout our organization over the past few years to determine if we should not fill certain vacancies until our revenue situation improves. While this means that we have fewer employees available at present, we have also been able to successfully stave off employee layoffs in this difficult economic environment. Not filling positions does not mean that I have permanently eliminated these positions. It simply means that I have not been given adequate assurance that we can afford to fill such positions until the economic climate improves.
New Staffing – There are no new staffing positions proposed in the Town Budget.
Evaluate Existing Programs-While the Fiscal 2011 budget projects to be another “lean year”, it is important to evaluate several Town Programs and Departments to determine if new efficiencies, improvements or regionalization of certain services can be achieved. Many of these programs were identified in the Fiscal 2011 Budget Strategy. I will be seeking the support of various Town Boards, Committees and Policy Makers to support the creation of an Efficient Government Task Force.
Highlights of the expenditure side of the budget are detailed below:
General Government Budget: This Budget is recommended to decrease to $24,263,015 (excluding fixed costs such as debt service and employee benefits). This represents a decrease of $125,716 or a .5% decrease over the current fiscal year’s amount.
Dedham School Budget: The recommended budget for Education will increase by $601,817 over this Fiscal Year. In real numbers, the Fiscal 2011 School Budget is recommended to be $32,401,500 oran increase of $578,717 over the final Fiscal 2010 amount.
Debt Service: This expenditure is expected to increase by $456,335 to a to a new total payment obligation of $7,797,643. This amount assumes the obligation of a new bond sale in the Spring of 2010. We are obligated to permanently borrow for completed capital expenditures by the end of the fiscal year. Our plan for Debt Service had contemplated a level funding scenario but due to the recent voter approval of the Avery School and the new High School Athletic Complex, an initial interest payment has been included as part of this budget proposal.
Fringe Benefits: These expenditures are expected to rise by $856,056 or an increase of 7%. The increase in Employee and Retiree Health Insurance benefits alone anticipates a 9.5% increase in costs over Fiscal 2010.
A Foundation for the Future
Despite the constant barrage of concerns associated with the State and National economies the Town has a lot to be proud of as we look beyond this budget planning season. There are several items listed below that will help to support our municipal services in the next Fiscal Year and beyond. While we remain concerned about the limited revenue prospects for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012, we still have a lot to be proud of.
These items are not listed in any particular priority:
New Avery School and New Dedham High School Athletic Complex- Dedham voters recently cast their votes to increase their taxes so that one of the Town’s oldest and most outdated Elementary School, Avery Elementary, would be replaced. With the support of nearly 50% State funding, taxpayers showed their strong support to provide quality education for the children living in and around East Dedham. These same voters also agreed to support the construction of a new High School Athletic Complex that includes a new field turf field, a new track and new bleachers and bathrooms at the Dedham High School. Given the difficult economy that residents have withstood, Dedham taxpayers have again decided that that it continues to be important to invest back into their community.
Our Workforce, Volunteer Board’s, Committees and our positive relationship with County Government - Dedham’s employees and volunteers have done a remarkable job over the past year and have demonstrated their commitment toward the overall improvement of the community. Employee productivity has been steady and has improved on most levels of government. The Town is fortunate to have such a great group of individuals who work well together and who are determined to provide a high level of service to the residents of Dedham. This is one of Dedham’s great qualities. It should also be noted that our cooperative relationship with Norfolk County Government has allowed the Town to gain financially and logistically. Over the past year, Norfolk County Government has assisted with several engineering projects that could have cost the Town in excess of $200,000 in outside engineering services. The Town greatly appreciates the cooperative efforts of the County in assisting the Town in its efforts to address Dedham’s infrastructure needs.
Legacy Place- Construction is nearly complete at Legacy Place. Construction began in earnest in April of 2008 and has really taken off since that time. This was one of the few projects of its kind in the Commonwealth that continued to move forward despite the concerns over the economy. At substantial completion in the fall of 2009, Legacy Place was only one of two new retail projects to open in the country in 2009. As of January 1, 2010, Legacy construction is now approximately 90% complete. According to our Building Department and in conversation with the developer WS Weiner, of the 650,000 square feet of space available, 620,000 of the space has been leased. The nearly all of the businesses should be operational by June of 2010.
Hebrew Senior Life- The other major project that has been under construction in Dedham is the NewBridge on the Charles or Hebrew Senior Life. This $450 Million dollar assisted living style complex is a state of the art facility with a high quality residential component. This project was largely completed by September of 2009. The Rashi School, which was added late in the development stage of the project is now nearing completion of construction and is expected to be open for classes in September of 2010.
Road and Sidewalk Improvements- Progress continued for the third full year for the Town’s Pavement Management Program. Resident concerns regarding construction were almost nonexistent in 2009. In March of 2009, the Department of Public Works and the Infrastructure Engineering Department worked directly with the list of approved roads as generated through the Pavement Management Program. The two Departments went out to bid and selected the contractor(s) to perform the work. Due to some contractual disputes with the contractor some work was delayed in the 2009 construction season. The actual construction work began in October and will continue into the Spring of 2010. The full extent of the work is described on the Town’s website at www.dedham-ma.gov. The two Departments have maximized opportunities to achieve cost effective and efficient road improvements by utilizing Town employees to design, inspect and support our outside contractors while performing this work. We estimate that the savings achieved annually to be in the $600,000-$700,000 range. The savings achieved have been translated into a significantly greater return on our capital investment by injecting the savings back into road repairs and improvements. The savings achieved each year has resulted in a greater number of roads being addressed and a greater number of miles improved. One of the most significant announcements made in January of this year is that based on the progress that this program has had on the conditions of the Towns Streets, the PCI (Pavement Condition Index) rating has gone from a rating of 70 just 4 years ago to a projected rating of 80 in 2012. By way of reference, the Disney World streets are considered the benchmark for measuring this index and their rating is currently 85. While many of the Town’s roads still require major improvement and investment, this systematic approach toward addressing one of Dedham’s biggest challenges is now moving steadily toward one of the Town’s most significant accomplishments.
Bond Rating- In November of 2008 the Town was notified of the news that we had been waiting to hear for many years. Standard and Poor’s had increased our bond rating from Double A status to Double A+ status and we maintained our “Strong” rating for our management practices. Dedham’s Bond Rating is now considered one of the highest in the Commonwealth with only the Triple A rated communities (of which there are less than 15 in the Commonwealth) separating us from the top. The Town has managed to maintain this very desirable rating throughout this very difficult financial climate.
Street Light Acquisition- We are now into the second year following the Town’s action to acquire all of the Town’s street lights. This action was to taken to help reduce our cost exposure with respect to the leasing of older and underperforming equipment and to help improve our overall service response. Ever since the Town took this step, additional communities have followed suit. At the time of our action, over 65 communities throughout the Commonwealth had acquired their street lights during past 10 year span. Without taking this action the cost of providing this service would have continued to rise while resident satisfaction could have continued to worsen. As part of the acquisition process, we have contracted with Republic ITS to service the lights and to replace the lights with more efficient fixtures. The Budget cost of this line item has stabilized and we have experienced some savings. More importantly, based on the five year lease-purchase program that Town Meeting approved in 2008, the Town will own the lights in three more years and the cost of this program should be reduced by nearly 40%.
Single Stream Recycling and Automated Trash Collection-
In 2008, the Town went out to bid on its trash program to identify a more cost effective program. That action resulted in the Town achieving a contract with a new Trash Collector and a new contract with a regional disposal facility. Both actions resulted in major cost avoidance for the Town. This action also introduced the possibility of converting our more traditional trash program into a more environmentally friendly and more cost efficient trash solution known as Single Stream Recycling and Automated Trash Collection. This new program actually began in November of 2009 after a year of educational seminars and mass communication efforts to explain the new program to residents. The advantage of the new program is that it teaches our residents to recycle more and to dispose of less trash into the waste stream. A ton of trash costs $75.00 a ton to process versus $17.00 a ton to process recyclables. By providing a limited capacity to dispose of trash and by making it easier to recycle, residents have significantly improved the recycling rate for the Town. At the same time, our trash program costs have stabilized and we have avoided major cost increases for disposing of trash. An added benefit is that our streets are cleaner, due to the method of collection that now occurs and we are improving the environment with this significantly more eco-friendly approach.
As you read through the remaining Sections of this Budget Message, I will be readily available to answer any questions that may arise. I am pleased to be able to provide you with this important document. However, I do remind everyone that despite the conservative actions taken to prepare our revenue estimates; we must continue to watch the actions of the Governor and the Legislature as they address State Aid recommendations. I fully anticipate that further adjustments will be made in this document depending on any new information that will be made available to us between now and the Annual Town Meeting.
I continue to welcome input from residents, Board and Committee members on how this document can be instrumental in helping to shape Dedham’s future.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee, I am pleased to present to you with my recommendations for the Fiscal 2011 Budget for the Town of Dedham.
William G. Keegan, Jr.