Thursday, June 10, 2010

Live reporting - Town Council - FY 2011 Budget Hearing - Part 2

Present:  Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, Powderly
Absent: McGann, Zollo

Jeff Nutting, Susan Gagner, Jim Dacey

no questions or comments before going through the budget line items, items can be held for discussion

Hold on police expenses - Vallee
My priority is health, safety and education
We are down to 45 with a population of 33, 000
I don't feel comfortbale with that

Vallee - how many on a shift?
Williams - I try to run 6-8 on a shift
Sooner or later we are going to get caught, I don't want anyone pointing fingers
We do 42,000 incidents, almost 6,000 - 911 calls
When the economy turns down, the activities turn up
There are more stress levels in the home environment, it takes an officer longer to resolve the issues
Am I comfortable, no

Vallee - I think we should have cut other departments to maintain staff here

Williams - We are also loosing three dispatchers this year, I will only have two people during the peak times
there will be times when citizens will call and they will wait, can't be helped

Vallee - Hold on fire salaries
McCarragher - with 12 per shift, and one off, we could still staff two vehicles
with 11 on shift, and one off, we can only staff one vehicle
it is a very complex event, 50% of our calls are coming in back-to-back
we need to figure out how to staff and not tax our surrounding help, it won't help them and it won't help us
What's going to happen on July 1, I still don't know yet

Vallee - I am getting complaints about too many people showing up on an ambulance call
McCarragher - the most important service is responding to the next one, we are living within the means we are given, we are relying upon partners and we are trying to figure this out

Vallee - I am unhappy with the situation, it is getting worse every year
McCarragher - yes, I can agree with you on that point

Jones - Is there a standard
McCarragher - we are staffed for 2 minor emergencies to handle at once, or one major emergency
With the budget being voted on tonight, I have nine instead of ten

Kelly - Hold on OPEB
our responsibility is a whole lot more is this just a place holder?
Nutting - yes, this is a start, I will be coming back with a more complete analysis we can transfer other monies there and invest a little more aggressively

Resolution on Elected Officials Salaries
Motion to approve, passed 7-0
MA general law have to be voted separately, they deferred their salaries last year and this get them whole this year like everyone else

(see document on link for full details of resolution)
Resolution on Town Budget for FY 2011
motion to approve, passed 7-0
Sewer rate increase likely next year

Council Comments
Powderly - Bellingham police office struck on traffic duty
Fire statistics are showing a decline in response

Vallee - can we take some money from the Stabilization fund to provide more safety
Nutting - the Council can do that at any time with a two thirds vote, taking money for one time events will create further problems down the road

Whalen - with regards to the Police and Fire budget cuts they should not be a surprise to anyone
They were well notified during the recent discussions
Taking money from the stabilization fund, we should not take that for operational deficits
If we did so, as we eventually go for financing the high school renovations, that would on an out of pocket calculation about a $2 million increase that we can avoid.

Mason - I spoke to a gentleman today who thought the best idea was to reduce the overtime
when staff goes down the overtime goes up, coverage is still required

The Budget hearing document for Thursday can be found here (PDF)

Franklin, MA

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