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THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE
– Friday, April 21, 2017
Page 8
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– the chief benefit from continu-
ingto increase the fund. Crabtree
creditedthetown’sdecisiontoin-
crease its Stabilization Fund to a
recordhighlastyeartoanupgrad-
ing of its bond rating to an AA+/
Stable ratingwith national rating
agency S&PGlobal Ratings.
This can result in millions of
dollarsof savingswhen it comes
to borrowing money to finance
future projects, because a high-
er bond ratingwill lead tomuch
lower interest rates, he said.
Crabtree told
The Saugus Ad-
vocate
last year that the town
could save up to $7 million in
borrowing costs if it proceeded
with plans to finance the con-
struction of a combinationMid-
dle School-High School.
IfTownMeeting approves an-
other $1.5 million transfer into
the Stabilization Fund, the bal-
ancewouldclimbto$5.4million
in the fund, according toWendy
Hatch, the town’s FinanceDirec-
tor andTreasurer/Director. Crab-
tree said he would like to keep
contributing an average of 5 to
10 percent of the town budget
into the fund each year to build
up the Stabilization Fund to the
$8 million level and beyond.
But FinanceCommitteemem-
ber Ronald “Rocky” Jepson said
hewasn’toptimisticaboutCrab-
tree attaining his goal, which is
still several years away.“I’mlook-
ing at the trends and I don’t see
this as sustainable… I just hope
peopledon’t get thewrongper-
ception that this isgoingtohap-
pen every year,”Jepson said.
Crabtreearguedthat“thenew
growth and new zoning”would
generate enough future reve-
nue to keep his fiscal plan “via-
ble.” “We really have a different
culture that we’ve built here,”
Crabtree said.
The townmanagernotedthat
hisadministrationhasmadesig-
nificant progress compared to a
previous administration back in
2007when the townhad a BBB-
bond rating because of “disas-
trous”fiscal policies. Itwasa time
whentownofficials“couldn’tget
people to lend money to the
town,”he said.
Security for recreation
investments
Crabtree proposed Article 4
to provide lighting and securi-
ty cameras at the Veterans Me-
morial Elementary School play-
ground, the tennis courts at the
Belmonte Middle School and
improvements at the Bristow
Street Park – three major recre-
ational projects approvedat last
year’sAnnualTownMeeting.“Es-
sentially, this is going to com-
plete those projects,” the town
manager said of the $500,000
that would be borrowed if the
measure is approved by Town
Meetingmembers.
“Add security and lightingand
finish what we’re doing,”he said.
Security cameras would cover
the perimeter of the Belmonte
Middle School. The equipment
would include special monitors
at theSaugusPoliceDepartment
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