DEDHAM, MA – A challenging budget year with fixed costs far outpacing a slight growth in revenues has prompted the Norfolk County Commissioners to recommend a carefully constructed Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) County operating budget with limited investments and significant reductions in various County personnel and expenditure line items, Commissioner Francis W. O’Brien of Dedham, chairman of the Norfolk County Commissioners, announced this week.
“The Commissioners have had to make a number of tough decisions in order to balance next year’s operating budget,” explained O’Brien, discussing the efforts of the Norfolk County Commissioners, the board that serves as Norfolk County’s chief executive authority. “We’ve worked diligently to present a responsible, balanced budget that addresses the needs of all departments while working to minimize any impact to County services.”
Highlights of the County’s proposed budget include capital funding for building and roof improvements at Dedham Superior Court. They also include targeted investments at Quincy’s Wollaston Recreational Facility through upgrades to its tennis courts, parking lot improvements, walkways and tree work using revenues made possible by programmatic changes at Presidents Golf Course.
“These investments are certainly a highlight in an otherwise challenging budget year,” added Commissioner Joseph P. Shea of Quincy. “Anyone who knows anything about these facilities knows the degree to which these improvements are needed. We’ve continued to make these upgrades a priority and make the funding go as far as it can.”
O’Brien noted that the Norfolk County real estate market, with historically low inventory, continues to impact the County’s Registry of Deeds revenues, which account for approximately 30% to 40% of the County’s total revenues each fiscal year. The Commissioners decreased projected Registry revenues by $800,000 over a two-year period and are now projecting flat Registry receipts into FY20.
Though the Commissioners are projecting a $398,104, or 2.1%, increase in total net revenues, the County is also facing a $357,000 increase in retiree pension costs, a $200,000 increase in health insurance and increases in a number of maintenance and utility costs. The Commissioners, along with the Board of Trustees of the Norfolk County Agricultural High School, which is owned and operated by the County, continue their commitment to provide to the school the necessary resources to meet the needs of its students. The County’s proposed FY20 operating budget proposes a slight increase in funding to help the ‘Aggie’ meet that goal.
The Commissioners’ proposed budget will now be forwarded to the Norfolk County Advisory Board, consisting of one representative from each of Norfolk County’s 28 cities and towns, for its consideration and approval.