Friday, March 3, 2000
FinCom hears affordable housing plans and long-term requests
On February 16, the Carlisle Finance Committee hosted representatives of the affordable housing and long-term capital requirements committees. Marty Galligan of the housing authority explained the group's plans for establishing affordable housing on the Conant Land. The long-term capital requirements committee (LTCRC) presented its wish list of major town expenditures. While the former received a sympathetic hearing, the LTCRC received approval for a "high priority" budget that came close to meeting its $135,000 budget target.
Galligan presented the results of his research on affordable housing. Other towns, he explained, often fund affordable housing from a disproportionate number of high-end home sales. His own goal of establishing affordable housing on the Conant Land currently faces a projected $300,000 shortfall.
"I am doing my best to stretch the money, but it's not easy," he lamented, adding that his committee depends upon volunteer legwork as much as possible. Still, he firmly believes that the Conant Land development will proceed as planned.
Galligan explained his preference for use of the Conant Land. "The Banta-Davis Land has been ear-marked for schools and fields, and Town Forest land is all wet. The Conant Land is all paid for, and there is no ledge down to seven feet." (See housing article on page 1)
Long-term capital requirements
Next, Lenny Johnson presented the budget for the long-term capital requirements committee, beginning with the top priority expenses. "The good news," he explained, "is that [the budgeted] $135,000 will come pretty close to covering top priority [expenditures] with the one exception of a public works truck, which is a bonded issue anyway."
The committee proposed that the fire department continue its ongoing materials replacement program with $5,000 allocated for ten pagers, an additional $4,000 for protective clothing, and $3,600 for air bottles.
The committee recommended replacement of the police department's 1995 Bronco with a new four-wheel drive cruiser, for $30,000. The new vehicle will be equipped with four doors, allowing for transport of prisoners behind a screen.
An additional $2,400 is recommended for a new, automated defibrillator that can be used by someone other than an emergency medical technician. Johnson pointed out that the police are the first to respond to any emergency and the chief has indicated that volunteers are willing to do private fundraising as well.
Fin Com member Phil Conti agreed, "These [defibrillators] are failproof; they won't work on patients that do have a pulse, so liability is low."
The department of public works has requested two replacement compactors for the transfer station, one ranked as "top priority" and the other "high." Johnson explained that the compactors at the transfer station are 15 years old. FinCom member Dave Ives jumped in, "Wasn't there a request for another? The line sometimes backs up there." Johnson answered, "The concern now is to just keep what we have there running. The main thing is to get a new compactor."
"There are two items for the Carlisle School to complete work begun this year. One is making the Brick Building wheel-chair accessible," explained Johnson. "The building is non-compliant with ADA."
"The next item is really a safety-related repair to curbing and the school bus drop-off area," Johnson said. The sidewalk has settled and the curb is actually above the level of the sidewalk, making it easy to trip over. "This is a safety and town liability issue," he pointed out.
The final top priority item was a "roll-off truck" for the department of public works to haul the containers from the transfer station. After lengthy discussion, it was agreed that $100,000 represented a reasonable expenditure for a long-overdue truck, especially in comparison to the considerable ongoing expense of contracting out the work.
Other items presented by the LTCRC included an upgrade in hoses for the fire truck and tires for the police four-wheel drive vehicle.
While this budget was deemed acceptable by FinCom, Ives pointed out that some officials had failed to appear. "What about the treasurer and tax collector?" he asked. Chair Tony Allison replied, "I'm looking into revenues and the reporting of them. Thus far, I have found the situation a little worse than I'd imaginedno local receipts back to July of last year which is atrocious. [FinCom member] Simon [Platt] has gotten together with the auditor. He would be very happy to meet with us." FinCom agreed to continue this discussion.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito