Friday, November 17, 2000
Finance committee weighs in on Town Meeting issues
Carlisle's Finance Committee (FinCom) met briefly before Tuesday's Town Meeting to finalize its recommendations on several Warrant Articles. The meeting opened with a brief discussion of Carlisle's available funds, the so-called "free cash". Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie advised FinCom that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue had certified Carlisle's free cash at $910,920. FinCom members were surprised but not displeased at this unexpectedly high number. "It sounds too good to be true," said member Charlie Parker. "It is the recommendation of Sarah and Madonna [town clerk Sarah Andreassen and administrator Madonna McKenzie] that we only recognize and utilize $700,000" Parker added.
Proceeding to the Warrant, members quickly voted to recommend four articles: Article 2 (revised appropriations for town departments); Article 3 (transfer of funds among line items in the town budget); Article 4 (rescission of authorized but unissued debts); and Article 5 (Wang-Coombs related fund to be placed in the stabilization fund).
The sting of mosquito control
Article 7 (Central Mass Mosquito Project) was the most troublesome article for FinCom to deal with. FinCom members felt that the article was principally a town policy matter rather than a financial matter, although it has a financial component. Member Tony Allison pointed out that the financial impact of the measure had not been made clear. "I haven't seen any numbers on it," he said. Town administrator Madonna McKenzie indicated that membership in the mosquito control project would cost the town $24,000 per year.
Member Larry Barton questioned whether "our exposure is limited to the $24,000?" Allison asked whether there is a cap on the membership cost in future years. McKenzie stated that while there is no cap on the membership cost, Carlisle's continued membership in the project would have to be re-voted by Town Meeting every year. This would allow the town to limit its own financial exposure by ending its membership if the cost became too great.
In the end FinCom's final motion on the matter reflected both views, noting the "significant financial committment" but declining to recommend for or against due to insufficient information.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito