Borg optimistic, but ‘guarded’ for the year ahead

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Town Manager Michael Borg. File photo

abass@northstarrerpoter.com

It’s the halfway point of fiscal year 2024, and Town Manager Mike Borg said the town is in a good place financially.

Speaking to a joint Town Council and School Committee session on Jan. 8, Borg discussed how the town has been meeting the goals set in the FY2024 budget passed in June 2023.

Borg said the town has been able to stay financially sound in the first six months, as there have been no revenue shortfalls and departmental spending did not exceed estimates. Outside drivers, such as the town hosting immigrant families at the Best Western Hotel on Route 1, also did not impact the budget.

Borg highlighted new projects that began in the fiscal year, including the purchase of the Fisher College building on Elm Street, slated to become the new senior center and food distribution site and the creation of a multi-town partnership between North Attleborough, Attleboro and Plainville to focus on efforts to dredge the Ten Mile River.

“This is very good news for us,” Borg said. “I am, quite simply, optimistic about the rest of the year.”

Additionally, Borg said the town will begin new projects in the spring, ranging from infrastructure upgrades to the intersection of routes 152 and 106 on Kelly Boulevard, to a new housing development on Draper Avenue.

Borg said the Draper Avenue apartment complex is important to generate new growth to raise the town levy, without the need for an override of Proposition 2 ½. To continue the town’s ability to create more new growth and bring in more people, Brog has proposed changing the zoning bylaws and bring more mixed-use buildings and housing to the downtown area and Route 1. In North Attleborough, a single-family home is currently assessed at $569,000. According to Borg, the price will increase if there housing stock does not improve and a plan will need to be developed for the next fiscal year to address this.

“We think this will answer a couple of questions about our holistic approach to housing as well as commercial and industrial developments,” Borg said. “If all we are developing are single-family homes at $800,000, that’s only generating one benchmark of tax revenue.

While the outlook for the rest of the fiscal year was optimistic, Borg offered caution for the next fiscal year. Borg said he is looking closely to see if Gov. Maura Healey would have to cut federal aid for towns and cities. On Jan. 8, Healey announced she would be cutting $375 million in earmark funding due to the state’s lower-than-expected tax revenues this year. While no state aid was cut, Borg said the town needed to be prepared for the possibility, as cutting state aid would affect the town’s operating budget.

“We are keeping an eye on them,” Borg said of the cuts. “I am guarded about the year ahead.”