north attleboro town hall building

North Attleboro Town Hall

NORTH ATTLEBORO — The town is dealing with about a $400,000 budget shortfall, mostly on the education side, but school and town officials expect to bridge the gap with various revenue sources.

“We’ve been fighting this deficit,” Acting Town Manager Michael Gallagher said at this week’s school board meeting.

The money crunch had kept school and town departments from filling some positions.

The shortfall stems largely from the town receiving about $300,000 less in state aid than anticipated and increased costs for more charter school students.

Gallagher informed school officials the town is earmarked to receive $142,000 from the federal government for the cleanup from a 2013 snowstorm.

“They’re working at the speed of government,” he cracked.

The money is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the town manager recommends using it to reduce the shortfall.

Gallagher said it is hoped the shortfall can be further reduced because it appears tax revenue from new development should be coming in over estimates.

“That may help us completely close the gap,” he said.

The town manager said he would be reluctant to dip into a main town reserve fund, known as free cash, which should soon be certified by the state.

It is advised that fund be used for one-time expenses such as small-scale building and equipment needs and not budget expenses.

Regardless of what happens, this year’s school budget should remain intact, Gallagher said.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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