Friday, August 4, 2000
Finance committee makes FY00 year-end reserve fund transfers
The Carlisle Finance Committee celebrated the arrival of a new year on July 10fiscal year 2001, that is by taking money from the FY00 reserve fund and passing it out to a variety of needy town departments. But far from a dry financial transaction, the meeting offered insight into difficulties inherent in running the town.
The reserve monies were allocated as follows:
Fire chief Bob Koning was asked to explain, why, contrary to earlier reports, more emergency dispatchers would have to be retrained. "Two dispatchers left. We couldn't make them stay." FinCom member Charlie Parker said, "We wonder if it is worth training." Koning responded, "In this economy it is hard to keep them. We haven't a choice, we can't have an untrained person answer fire and emergency."
A rise in salary to $14 an hour has not improved staff retention. Koning explained that the job of dispatch person is somewhat "thankless and stressful." He pointed out that should a dispatch person take a 911 call, and the outcome prove negative, "the loss of the person affects them tremendously."
The number of ambulance runs have risen to 201 in the last six months from 160 the previous year, which Koning attributed to patients prematurely discharged from hospitals, as well as to a rising population. "We could hit 400 runs this yeara big financial problem," worried Koning.
Upon questioning by FinCom member David Trask, Koning affirmed that the "housing stock is becoming more fireproof." He added that new home monitoring systems are resulting in more alarms going off, and an increase in fire truck runs. At the same time, the alarms can minimize the danger to the home and firefighters. Said Koning, "If the house is not connected to a monitoring system, there can be a rip roaring fire by the time we get there. Someone has to see it." The bigger houses, he adds, "increase exposure."
Koning believes that "there probably never will be hydrants" in Carlisle. "We can buy time with tank trucks. There are water layouts throughout the communityseven more coming with the five new subdivisions coming. We send different groups to different cisterns."
Koning added that it costs developers from $60,000 to $70,000 to install a cistern on their property. "I don't believe the town should pay," he said.
Town expenses arise in non-emergency areas as well. Madonna McKenzie, interim town administrator, reported that Carlisle has been required to pay for one student's tuition and transportation costs to a Norfolk regional high school, so that student can pursue agricultural education not available in local schools.
The Department of Public Works hazardous waste site cleanup project still has between $15,000 to $25,000 in fees remaining in the contract. However, the contractor has reported to the selectmen that he expects a $5,000 surplus at project's end, because of his success with biomediationusing microbes ("bugs") to break down petroleum compounds in the contaminated soil.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito