Friday, February 18, 2000
FinCom wades through hearings; Gleason Library cuts budget request
Poised between routine fiscal responsibility and the specter of overrides, on February 9, the finance committee reviewed and approved budgets for the town clerk, elections and registration, the recreation commission, the board of assessors and the Gleason Public Library.
The town clerk's budget of $28,095 was approved with little fanfare. Some apprehension arose around the elections and registration budget of $2,800 as the prospect of increased expenses for an upcoming presidential election combined with speculation over the potential cost and logistics of holding a joint Town Meeting with Concord. Such a meeting is a possibility if the two towns do not agree to fund the regional high school at the same level. The FinCom's discussion ranged from what building could hold all those voters, to whether Carlisle voters should be segregated from Concord voters, to whether all Concord voters should hold up one hand and Carlisleans hold up two.
The recreation commission proposed a 3-percent budget increase to pay the expense of a recreation director and mowing services. The town's three- year mowing contract is now up for renewal and the RecCom recommended continuing its relationship with Longhorn, which has proven to be a reliable service provider.
Board of assessors
The board of assessors presented a budget of $70,273 within the guideline, representing a 1.4-percent operating budget increase, including a 3-percent salary increase. In their budget, $5,000 represented the cost of "contract services," to secure a consultant to assist with a revaluation in September and bring the assessor's office up-to-date on "what a kitchen's worth nowadays."
The planning board presented a $49,292 budget with an overall increase of 7.41 percent. According to members Tom Lane and Bill Tice, the planning board has requested a 3-percent raise in the planner's salary. They have also requested a 50-percent increase in part-time clerical help due to the planning board's new responsibility for the approval and control of wireless services in Carlisle. Over the next two months, the planning board will develop rules and regulations concerning wireless facilities, then accept wireless special permit applications at $2,500 apiece.
Fin Com chair Tony Allison questioned Tice about wireless services as a future revenue source for the town. "If it's [built on] private property, we might see none of it," Tice replied. He further explained that the corporate applicant and landowner would apply for a permit as co-applicants. While no specific limits have been set on town fees, inordinately high fees might be construed as intended to discourage applications, and thus be of questionable legality. Planning board representatives further explained that they anticipate up to six wireless applications, that would require separate applications and rents, even if all companies share one pole.
Finally, a revised budget for the Gleason Public Library was brought before the Fin Com. In contrast to their earlier request, the library will reduce hours of operation and staffing to 55 instead of their hoped-for 64 hours a week. In addition, they have consented to share custodial services (and therefore costs) with the police station and Town Hall. Their $321,789 budget allows the library to hire an additional full-time equivalent (FTE) circulation assistant and a .75 FTE librarian, as compared to the previously requested three FTE staff. Their proposed hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays; 1 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The FinCom appeared satisfied with this revised budget and expressed their hope that library fundraisers might augment their income. According to Allison, "We thank the library for taking their fair share [of budget cuts]."
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito