Friday, February 4, 2000
FinCom reviews potential for override this year
In February, as more fortunate citizens curl up with seed catalogues and dream of narcissus, town officials' thoughts turn to strategies for shaping Proposition 2 1/2 override questions. This year, such talk has started earlier than usual, as most town departments have submitted requests far higher than the draconian guidelines the finance committee approved last fall.
Thus far, with town departments representing 17 percent of the budget yet to be heard from, possible override items known to the FinCom total nearly $660,000:
Requests over guideline
Carlisle Public Schools $258,803 CCHS $232,196 Gleason Library $119,501 Police, fire, ambulance $46,920 Dept. of public works $578
Total possible override $657,998
In budget hearings last month, FinCom chair Tony Allison and members Charles Parker and Tom Bilotta have frequently voiced fears that voters would not approve an override so high. In discussion following the FinCom's January 26 hearings on the Gleason Library and Concord-Carlisle High School budgets, Bilotta suggested several approaches to "manage" the over-guideline requests.
· FinCom should consider recommending transferring more from free cash, perhaps up to $150,000 in additional transfers.
· FinCom should set a more "realistic" guideline for CCHS before advocating for reductions.
· Both schools and the library should cut their budget requests enough to reduce the level of any potential override to $200-250,000.
· Bilotta would also require a commitment from the selectmen that at least half of any proceeds from the sale of town property would go into a stabilization fund.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito