What is the financial health of your town?

With both Dunstable & Groton Town Meetings coming this April and May there is much talk about Free Cash, DOR Income Per Capita, Net State Aid, Stabilization Funds, Excess Levy Capacity/Limits and much more.   It is enough to make you dizzy and very confused.

We will soon have warrant articles and budgets presented to us at our Town Meetings that may request taxpayer approval for various capital expenses, transfer money between funds, offset the tax rates or to raise and appropriate through the use of different funding mechanisms.

In an effort, to help prepare taxpayers for our Town Meetings and to help understand the different financing mechanisms available to taxpayers in both Dunstable and Groton I want to share a website with my readers.

This site is the Division of Local Services; it provides information reported to the government from both towns.

https://dlsgateway.dor.state.ma.us/reports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Dashboard.TrendAnalysis

If you have questions about your town’s revenues, funding sources, average single family tax bill, income per capita…  you can look up your town and see what was reported to the DOR and even download spreadsheets and charts.

For example…  do you know what a Stabilization Fund is? Does your town have one and what expenses can be paid for with this funding source?

Dunstable Stabilization Fund and  Groton Stabilization Fund


What is levy capacity?  If your town passed an override that provided funding for municipal and school expenses; when & how was that money collected and spent?  What was the appropriation to the schools and municipal from the override? 

Dunstable Excess Levy Capacity and Groton Excess Levy Capacity

Is Free Cash “free,” where does it come from and does my town have any?  

Dunstable Free Cash and Groton Free Cash

I found this site be informative and very helpful in guiding me to understand the spending habits of my town, resources in my town, the terminology referenced at my Town Meeting and most importantly what is really being asked of me through warrant articles and how many different ways there are to fund various expenses that are proposed both in and outside an annual budget.  

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.” ~ John F. Kennedy