LEICESTER, Mass. — With a new year before them, Leicester's elected officials are making their 2013 resolutions for the town's future.
A top resolution for Leicester Selectman Doug Belanger is "to better communicate to the town's workers our appreciation for them as we continue to ask them to do more with less and they continue to fulfill their job."
Additionally, Belanger said a challenge in 2013 will be sincerely communicating that because Leicester "is truly on the edge of our own fiscal cliff," the community has only three options: a dramatic reduction in services, a 2 1/2 override, or some hope of new tax revenue through new or expanding businesses.
"The difficulty is the Chicken Little situation," he said. "All towns have been crying this for the last five or six years, but like all things, eventually it is coming to pass."
While Belanger says he tends to see the glass as half full, he stressed that in this case, the glass is leaking.
"I see it being probably the toughest year of my tenure," he said.
Selectman Matt Dennison says his No. 1 wish for 2013 would be for Leicester to get its financial house in order; to do that, he aims to begin work, along with Selectman Sandy Wilson, on the Department of Revenue report.
"There are certainly struggles ahead of us, and we're going to have issues with revenue," said Dennison. "I do want to see the schools and other departments, like the police department, get some help. All the departments are working on a shoestring budget."
School Committee member Scott Broskey looks to continue working on the state's new common core requirements for schools, as well as further improve on district MCAS scores.
Additionally, Broskey said he hopes the district can either maintain or expand its AP program at the high school, which increased AP courses to nine this year with the help of a grant.
"The more AP courses we have, the more legit we look to higher-ranking colleges," he said.
Furthermore, Broskey said, Leicester's new superintendent, Judith Paolucci, is coming from one of the top-performing districts in Maine.
"When she starts her job, I think we're going to see improved relationships with the community," said Broskey.