Duxbury has yet to finalize its budget and plans to do so at a select board meeting on Monday, January 25. However, the most recent budget draft presented at Duxbury’s January 13 meeting showed a 6.9% increase in the town’s 2021 general fund, which jumped from $1,009,415 to $1,073,703.
Duxbury’s budget is climbing for a variety of reasons. To start, the cost of gravel has gone up. In the January 13 budget draft, Duxbury’s gravel line item jumped from $40,000 to $72,000. “There was basically a 100% increase in the price of gravel,” said select board chair Kevin Garcia. “We found that the gravel we were using was bad. This is just better gravel.”
Moreover, Duxbury’s road reconstruction fund jumped from $4,000 to $20,000. Select board member Mari Pratt explained that this fund was necessary for fixing parts of Duxbury roads that are particularly bad during mud season. “That fund is to dig those areas out and stop them from turning them into a mudholes. It’s costly. The $4,000 doesn’t do anything.”
Select board members also added a new line item to the budget this year, a $15,000 pavement escrow fund. This fund is specifically designed to fix small areas of paved road in Duxbury that are in bad shape. “We need to do some paving,” said Pratt.
One of the biggest costs in this year’s budget is the $152,000 allocated for fixing Scrabble Hill Road. However, this line item likely won’t stick. At the meeting, select board members determined they could drastically reduce this year’s budget by cutting this line item in half.
According to select board member Jerry McMahan, cutting this line item in half by extending the project into the future would bring the total budget down to nearly last year’s level. Eager to reduce the total budget cost, the board decided to draft a new version of the budget that cuts the Scrabble Hill funding in half for 2021.
“That was a real good idea, holy cow,” said Garcia about extending the Scrabble Hill project.
The board hopes to finalize Duxbury’s budget on Monday, and hopes to bring Duxbury residents a budget that is much lower than the one presented at the January 13 meeting.
However, they agreed that if anything is going to put financial strain on Duxbury residents this year, it will be the school budget. “The big hit realistically will be the school budget,” said McMahan.
“That’s gonna be the killer, as usual,” said Pratt.