Saugus officials, to include Town Administrator Scott Crabtree and the Board of Selectmen, invested heavily in Saugus veteran services in FY2014, increasing office hours, staff and veteran benefits to better serve Saugus veterans. The result is the numbers you see below.
This budget has been recommended by Town Administrator Crabtree and will be presented for approval or adjustment to the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee. Prior year figures have been included for comparison. The finance committee presentation will be on April 16, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Line Item FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014 FY2015
Salaries 8600 8600 40572 58004 61580
Flags 0 0 0 0 3500
Professional 0 0 0 1000 1000
Supplies 39 0 929 500 500
Veteran Benefits 121400 121649 181009 175000 300000
Additionally, the Saugus Veterans Council, local veterans the Board of Selectmen and our office identified a need to fund a flag replacement program that will ensure town flags fly in a dignified manner. That line item is listed above as “Flags.”
Like most municipal departments, we do not have an overwhelming budget. Veteran benefits delivered under Chapter 115 make up the vast majority of our budgets and are required my Massachusetts General Law. The good news on this front is that if we do our jobs correctly, the cities and towns we represent get reimbursed 75 percent of the monies given to local veterans to increase their quality of life. In the past 18 months, our district has received more than 99 percent of the reimbursable money through state cherry sheets. It's also important to note that Chapter 115 clients all live under 200% of the Federal Poverty level and are carefully vetted in accordance with 108 Code of Massachusetts regulations.
Here is a graph representing budget costs, state reimbursement and actual cost to the town. There are two important notes here:
2.) Our district began in the second quarter of FY2013. You will note the increase in services and reimbursement beginning with the spikes in red. The final chart line equal the five-year total. If we continue on current trends, the reimbursement line will continue to move up as we capture more dollars by filing veteran benefits correctly.