When and if the Yarmouth Town Council says no to the proposed budget, I believe it’s critically important that they give the School Committee a goal – a number or a percentage increase that the council would accept, and which would be acceptable to the majority of Yarmouth taxpayers.
As I’ve stated in public previously, the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security payments is zero for 2016 (actually zero for three of the past seven years), and the Consumer Price Index rose only 1.4 percent in 2015. Inflation for the past year averaged 0.12 percent. The annual inflation rate for February 2016 was 1.02 percent. Projected growth in gross domestic product for 2016 is 0.9 percent. All of these metrics are clearly less than the 2.5 percent to 2.75 percent salary increases that have been negotiated into the current employment contracts.
In my opinion a reasonable percentage increase in the overall budget would be acceptable – say 1 percent-1.4 percent. And in following years the Town Council could tie increases to some accepted measure of economic prosperity or progress.