Friday, February 27, 2004
Shorts from the FinCom, February 11
The Finance Committee (FinCom) continued its review of committee budgets for the next fiscal year, FY05. Each department has been asked to prepare a budget consistent with the guideline set by the FinCom and to highlight needs not covered. The "guideline budget" for the town would not require any override of the Proposition 2-1/2 limit on annual property tax increases.
• BOH needs $ for animal inspector. The Board of Health (BOH) submitted a guideline budget of $67,615 and a level services budget of $67,919. The level services budget included $1,000 for the animal inspector, one-half the total cost (office supplies and other line items were shaved to keep the increase smaller). The rest of the inspector cost is covered by fees collected for barn inspections, but other tasks cannot be charged back. Previously, the position was volunteer.
The BOH's revolving "53E1/2 account" contains $53,328.35. This account collects fees from developers and others requiring services and is reduced as services occur. Deb Belanger of the FinCom asked that the committee do "a specific analysis of the outstanding fees and age them . . . our gut is that half that account is residual." The FinCom hopes to apply unneeded money in revolving accounts to operating budgets.
• COA budget on guideline. The Council on Aging (COA) submitted a guideline budget of $61,368 of which $54,495 was wages for the director, outreach coordinator, van coordinator, and van drivers. Director Liz Jewell said the van is used "at least three times per week for activities and to transport people to appointments." Jewell noted the COA serves a Carlisle population of over 700 residents over sixty and praised the funding help of the Friends of the COA, adding, "I don't feel there's an area where we're neglecting people."
• Cable consultants. The FinCom approved a transfer of $7,000 from the Reserve Fund to settle a disputed bill submitted by cable consultants working with the town who were subpoenaed by AT&T Wireless. Selectman Tim Hult explained Carlisle's legal advisors worked with the consultants "to get the outcome we wanted" in a lawsuit regarding cell towers.
• Confict of interest. FinCom member Bret Bero of Hartwell Road has petitioned the Selectmen to authorize his continuing in his role in spite of a potential conflict of interest in the proposed Benfield purchase, as his home abuts an abutter to the property." I don't feel conflicted, but I leave it up to them," he said, noting that FinCom member Ray Wilkes, also of Hartwell Road, "has the same issue."
© 2004 The