To the editor:
We write this letter to help inform residents of the Town of Foxboro that a lot of responsible and creative discussions have been conducted over the past several months to help manage Foxboro’s finances during this most challenging time. The town and school administrations, the board of selectmen, the school committee and the advisory committee have jointly met on several occasions this past year to review revenues, analyze expenses and collaborate over new ways to provide services to this community. Collectively we have learned the facts about Foxboro’s finances so that each of our committees could make well-informed decisions.
It is important for everyone to know that Foxboro has been entirely prudent in its financial and spending practices for many, many years. That observation was not just made by us but it was confirmed this past year when the independent bond rating firm of Standard and Poors reaffirmed the town’s bond rating as Triple A.
A Triple A Rating is the highest rating offered by this global rating firm. S&P took note of the fact that Foxboro has developed healthy reserve accounts, addressed its long-term liabilities and has improved its capital facilities, all while it continues to provide quality education and municipal services to the taxpayers of Foxboro. More importantly, Foxboro has achieved this high rating standard without asking for a single tax override and only a limited number of debt exclusions during its long history. That fiscally responsible approach has served this community well and no one has any intention to change it.
When COVID-19 took hold and essentially put the brakes on everyone’s normal way of life, we all recognized that the budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021 would have to be re-examined. The town manager, the director of finance, the school superintendent and the school business manager immediately took steps and worked collaboratively to reexamine school and municipal capital spending plans, along with the municipal operational budget and made recommendations to make significant cuts to bring our spending more in line with our projected revenues.
Revenue projections were all reevaluated and were then lowered to better reflect the expectations of the next 12 to15 months.
We further commit to you that if additional adjustments are needed we will continue to take prudent fiscal steps to keep Foxboro’s finances balanced during this COVID-19 lead downturn in our economy.
To conclude the reexamination process we all met this past week to discuss all of these items collectively. Our goal was to meet with the advisory committee and determine if we could all reach a consensus on what financial plan should be presented at this year’s annual town meeting.
After several hours of debate there was full agreement on what the Fiscal 2021 budget plan should be.
Because Foxboro has been fiscally responsible for many years and has planned for “rainy days,” such as the times we are in right now, we are in a much more favorable position to weather this storm. This storm will pass just as others have passed before it.
However, the residents and taxpayers of Foxboro should take comfort in knowing that its chief elected policy boards — the board of selectmen and the school committee — are all working cooperatively with the advisory committee to develop a financial plan that works. We are committed to working together to help keep Foxboro strong during these challenging times.
Mark Elfman, chair, board of selectmen, and Tina Belanger, chair, school committee