Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Town Council - Public Hearing on FY 09 Budget

These are notes taken during the meeting and published live... they will be updated as the evening progresses.

Clerk reading budget line items, anyone can put an item on hold for further discussion

Doak arrives at 6:06; Whalen and Zollo still not here

Instructions on motion or release of hold for the items that were held

Mason hold on Treasurer/Collectors Salary
opened a can of worms here, Jeff and Susan aren't in agreement on the timing of the 2 vs. 2.5 percent increase
Bartlett, willing to reconsider but would like the confusion resolved before she makes up her mind
Doak supports the 2.5 percent that was previously voted
- Zollo arrives -
Feeley explains that the elected officials are not entitled to merit or step increases
Doak clarifies his position to review the elected officials on an annual basis

moving on while the item is clarified

Bartlett motion to reduce planning and growth management salaries
effectively removing the downtown manager position

- Whalen arrives to complete council attendance -

McGann speaking against motion
Nutting clarifying that the position is going to be needed and used as the downtown planning progresses in response to Zollo question; can be reviewed next year
Zollo speaking for the position, does need to have the position justified but shouldn't be terminated prematurely
Doak concerned about the overall Planning Dept increase of 13%
Doak challenges McGann's reckless comment to save us all some time by identifying the "waste in this budget"
motion failed 4-4 with one abstention
new motion
second failed same vote
determined to come back to this item

Vallee speaking for the addition of 2 police officers
"not providing adequate safety for our citizens"
making motion to add 2 positions with commensurate salaries
Jeff makes technical amendment to make the salaries and expenses align properly
Vallee approves of the amendment
money to come from the stabilization fund
Doak agrees with the justification but not with the money coming from the stabilization fund
Whalen agrees also with Vallee's sentiment on safety
Whalen also takes on McGann's comment on "waste in the budget"
"as a community we have to come with a plan"
Nutting saying with 40 plus teachers going out the door, adding two here is not good
"tough thing to do at this point"

"3 years in a row the department waived raises"
McGann will back Vallee on this
Bartlett "can't support hiring unless we are falling apart at the seams"
Zollo "this conversation underscores the seriousness that the citizens need to understand"
"We are the least taxed, understaffed in every department, too late to repair after breaking at the seams"
"What type of community do I want to live in?"
"Commends chair for coming up with group to study and develop the multi-year plan"

Jim Roche, put forth increase to override to cover the increase for Fire and Police
should rename the stabilization fund as the "emergency repair and replacement fund"

Pfeffer thought she found a million dollars by using the revenue from the 4 Corners building but that would only free about 100,000 dollars of operating revenue
motion to add the police failed at 7-2 vote

Dept 300 - Town Schools
the budget item seems to include the transfer of the support staff yet there is no MOA, there is no hearing by the Town Council, there is no number crunching as requested by Councilor Zollo
the budget does not include the $5.4M for the facilities consolidation

Doak, without memorandum in place are we exposed if we proceed down the way
Nutting what has to happen, town has two actions, school committee has to approve
Nutting "have to meet the net school spending"
should make it now or next year, not practical to do in October

Whalen concerned
Vallee wants an answer
Pfeffer doesn't understand either

Rohrbach disagrees with the budget subcommittee statement that Feeley made about the budget dollars

Roy stating the case for the School Committee/Department maintaining
This proposal will not save the town money, this proposal will cost money
It is a good idea to explore, let the planning committee explore those opportunities
Why can't we wait until the memo is done?

Armenio budget subcommittee member, present at the meeting
MOU would be put together and then the budget would be discussed

Cafasso was put on hold previously to not confuse the override last year
under the state law, the school principals have authority over whoever works in the school
a transfer could take place mid-year

Feeley motion to accept town administrator's version of the budget (giving the town the building management)

Nutting restating the prior arguments
Nutting won't give an answer to Zollo's question

Vallee consolidate to save money
Is that item overspent or underspent? It makes him suspicious.

motion approved unanimously

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