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Last Monday night, January 8th, we held our first Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Public Hearing. The purpose is to give Madison taxpayers a say in what capital expenditures are recommended to the Board of Selectmen (BOS )and Board of Finance (BOF). Since you weren’t able to make it, I’ll fill you in on what happened, what the CIP process is and what it means to our town’s finances.
The CIP Committee is made up of two members each of the three separate boards – the Board of Selectmen the Board of Finance and the Board of Education (BOE) and three Madison citizens, each appointed by one of the Boards. The presentation explained that the CIP includes the capital needs of both the Town of Madison and Madison Public Schools and is an excellent tool for long term planning because it identifies the capital needs of the Town with the goal of maintaining and preserving existing Town assets and, when necessary, acquiring and/or constructing new assets.
In that context, the committee evaluates and prioritizes those needs to develop a 5 year Capital Expenditure Plan, which of course means that they must identify funding sources to support the Plan. In the course of all this the Town’s proposed annual capital budget is developed for the subsequent five years. The result is that we are able to forecast the budget impact of these expenditures keeping in mind the financial condition of the Town. Given the financial situation of the state, it’s extremely important to take into account many different factors, while not losing sight of the need to hold down our property taxes and yet still maintain the assets that make Madison so special. This process begins right after the end of the last fiscal year and dovetails with the budgeting process that concludes with the Annual Budget Referendum. The CIP is meant to provide transparency, which is why public input throughout the process is so important.
We ask that you stay involved for updates, so you know what’s going on. If possible, attend CIP Committee meetings and budget workshops held by the BOS and BOF, or watch them on Public Access TV. We will have our second public hearing on January 25, right after our Annual Town Meeting at Polson School. Stay tuned for more details. If you want to provide comments to the committee, you can do so via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. And please remember to vote in the May Budget Referendum!
Now you know everything that was discussed at last week’s Public Hearing.