Friday, March 30, 2007
Override not supported by FinCom
With only five of seven members in attendance, on March 20 the Finance Committee (FinCom) voted 2 to 2 with one abstention to withhold support for Article 6 of the Warrant for Town Meeting on April 30 which proposes a budget override of $245,682. The override would enhance the budgets of a number of town organizations, including the Carlisle Public School (CPS), which would receive $151,000, police, fire department, library, and Council on Aging (COA). The FinCom had originally proposed tiered overrides that would give priority to emergency services, but the Selectmen had rejected that path in deciding to offer one override (See article on Selectmen in this issue).
"The majority of the Finance Committee is very concerned about the future outlook," said Chair Thornton Ash in a phone interview. In a draft letter to be included with the Warrant, the FinCom refers to the projections of the Long Term Financial Planning Special Committee and notes, "With looming expenditures for CPS and high school building projects as well as Town projects such as cisterns and roofs, the Special Committee is recommending that the Town begin to place tighter controls on operating expenses. This is a significant challenge because most of the budget drivers — wages, energy, insurance — increase at rates greater than the increase in revenue." Says Ash, "We need to start to deal with the problem (of rising operating costs) rather than put it off again till next year." He adds, "We were torn because critical items may not get funded, but we would rather have no override than a bad one."
He encourages voters to give feedback to the FinCom at a public hearing to be held April 23 at Town Hall. "Historically these have not been well-attended," he says, "but last year more attended and were asking questions" and he is hopeful this trend will continue. In addition, the FinCom has two more meetings before Town Meeting, both open to the public. Check the Mosquito for dates and times.
The FinCom supported all other articles except pathways Article 12, which has been withdrawn and submitted for Community Preservation Act funding.
© 2007 The