Friday, January 19, 2007
Personnel costs exceed FinCom FY08 budget guidelines
Last Tuesday the Board of Selectmen reviewed the budgets that five town departments are preparing to present to the Finance Committee (FinCom) in the weeks ahead. Most departments face a common problem: more personnel time is needed to serve the town's citizens, and personnel costs exceed the modest increases permitted by the FinCom's FY08 budget guideline.
Council on Aging
The Council on Aging (COA) is working to ensure that Carlisle seniors are "living, not just existing," COA Treasurer James Elgin told the Selectmen. The COA's budget request for 2008 is $95,000, which is about $19,000 over the FinCom guideline. The requested increase would be used to fund additional hours worked by COA Director Kathleen Mull and Outreach Coordinator Angela Smith. Their hours would increase from 19.5 to 30 hours, and 16 to 24 hours, respectively. Elgin noted that while both jobs have increased over the past few years, the employees are not now being compensated for all the hours they are working. The Personnel Board has approved the additional hours.
"We need to spend more on outreach to determine who the seniors are who need services," said Elgin. "We need to know if any needs are going unmet." Outreach can increase the quality of life of Carlisle's seniors, he continued, who could "fall through the cracks" and "not be as connected as they should be."
Elgin said that if the FY08 budget is approved, the COA would spend $31 additional per senior per year, increasing from the current $64 to $95. He compared the COA yearly expenditure of $95 per person to the $10,000 the town currently spends yearly on each youth under the age of 18.
If the increase is passed, Elgin continued, the cost per Carlisle household would be about $1.50 per month, which is "one dollar less than one issue of the Sunday Boston Globe."
Recreation Commission (RecCom) Chair Allen Deary proposed a $106,954 budget for 2008, which is $18,000 over the $88,859 guideline budget. RecCom would like to create a full-time director position instead of the current two part-time positions, one of which is now funded from the 53D revolving account that holds fees collected from programs. After discovering that the 53D account cannot be used for this purpose, it was decided that the best solution was to add $18,000 to the budget and reduce program expenses accordingly. Deary said that the full-time director position, which has already been approved by the Personnel Board, would be more efficient than two part-time positions.
Carlisle Police Chief John Sullivan proposed a $1,153,824 budget for FY 08, which is $11,691 above the FinCom guideline. The chief attributed the change to increases in wages, longevity and vacations. He also hopes to have the police station painted and the driveway re-surfaced, which falls under capital expenditures for a total of approximately $30,000.
The proposed FY08 Fire Department budget is $260,994, which is $15,944 over guideline. Fire Chief David Flannery explained that the increase is mainly due to stipends needed for three additional firefighters, three employees who have recently become certified EMTs and an increase in fire calls.
Sullivan and Flannery answered Selectmen's questions about the projected Communications budget for FY08, which came in at $248,938. The budget is $5,704 over guideline, which Flannery said was mostly due to an increase in wages.
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