Bread and Milk: Long range planning & stabilization
As I sit here and look out at the 3/13/18 snowstorm, I am reminded of my youth and the Blizzard of 1978. I was 11 years old at the time of this catastrophic history-making storm. Do you remember trying to get bread and milk? In those days, we could not forecast storms as well as we can today in 2018. In 1978, the Northeast was not prepared for the ensuing state-of-emergency. Obviously, with the technology that has evolved over the years, we now predict storms and their potential effects much better. We can see ten days ahead what is coming and these meteorological tools help to keep us safe from harm.
If Stoneham is smart in planning our future, we need to be proactive and not reactive when future storms come. We need to be fiscally responsible with our tax dollars and consider the town’s future needs. We need to increase our stabilization (savings) account. Why? Because it is recommended that we have at least 10% of our yearly budget in these accounts. Best practices would be 12-15%. This type of savings increases our preparedness when a storm comes. Once this stabilization goal is reached, then it is time to reduce fees.
Stoneham needs a new high school. When the state finally appropriates the funding to help with this, we need to be prepared to bond the remaining cost of the project. We are looking at approximately $60 million dollars that Stoneham will have to secure. With a better credit rating, we will ensure a better bond rating. We can do that by ensuring we have solid savings.
While we certainly should always strive to be more cost-conscious and reduce spending, we also need to be fiscally responsible and look at the whole loaf of bread - not just a slice.