Friday, February 9, 2007
Inspections, assessor and clerk meet FinCom guideline
The Finance Committee (FinCom) is in the process of reviewing various town department budgets for FY08. The February 5 meeting concentrated on the following areas: Inspection Services, Board of Assessors and Town Clerk. The proposed budgets were presented by Building Commissioner Bob Koning, Assessor John Spiedel and Town Clerk Charlene Hinton. Inspection Services include permits for building, gas (natural gas), plumbing and electrical wiring.
Salaries for all full- and part-time personnel in these areas reflect a 3.5% increase for FY08. With discrete cuts in a few areas, the overall budgets as presented were between 2.9% and 3% above FY07 budgets compared to the FinCom guideline limit of 2.9%.
Koning predicted a decrease in legal fees incurred by the Inspection Services department and this offset the higher-than-guideline salaries. He commented that the cost of most inspections were now handled by "revolving accounts" that are funded by fees collected by his department. However, his cover letter stated, "This budget does not include the 40B Coventry Woods project that may be approved by the Board of Appeals." (See article on revolving funds as authorized by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 44, 53G in the December 1, 2006 issue of the Mosquito.)
Hinton offered a budget with an 8% decrease in supplies to offset the higher-than-guideline salaries. For a "growth budget," she recommended an increase in the line item "Training and Meetings" from $849 to $1,679 which would increase the department budget to 4.6% above the FY07 budget. Hinton's presentation material stated, "The training sessions are not required by State Law but are strongly recommended. These are the only source of training on new and modified state regulations.representatives from the various State Departments are available for individual consultation for specific town issues."
The Finance Committee's next meeting is scheduled for February 12. The agenda includes budgets for the Library, Recreation Commission and Council on Aging.
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