Auburn, schools dust off budget


AUBURN – Rising county taxes and other costs will make for a difficult budget process this year, city councilors and School Committee members heard Monday.

Auburn’s elected officials met for the first time since November’s inauguration for an evening workshop and budget process review.

Budget numbers are far from settled, City Manager Pat Finnigan said.

“We really don’t have most of the information we need to really make any decisions,” Finnigan said. The state Legislature will decide this spring how much aid to education the school department will get, and the city tax assessor will set Auburn’s assessed value for the year in April.

They do know some things, however. Superintendent Barbara Eretzian said student enrollment at Auburn schools is up, and that should mean more state aid. Health insurance costs for the school, which stayed level for the current budget, will increase, however.

Finnigan also pointed out that county taxes for Auburn are set to increase from $1.7 million to $1.9 million, a 13 percent increase. That will have to be made up by increasing property taxes or cutting services.

Eretzian said school officials begin budget work in the next two weeks, meeting twice weekly for most of February and March. They should finish the work on their portion of the budget in March.