Friday, February 13, 2009
FinCom revisits budget requests
At their February 9 meeting the Finance Committee (FinCom) discussed belt-tightening measures being taken by town departments in preparation for possible cuts in state aid in both FY09 and FY10.
The Carlisle School has been asked by the BOS not to spend $103,000 of this years FY09 budget. Of the $103,000, $44,000 would come from special education that is projected to be unneeded and $59,000 from savings in energy costs due to lower gas and electric prices than anticipated. On Monday the FinCom proposed that the unspent amount be reduced to $93,000 to allow the school to pay a consultant $10,000 for an analysis of the proposed superintendency union. The BOS has no authority to reduce budgets approved at Town Meeting, and Selectman Doug Stevenson noted at a January 26 FinCom meeting that the school is being “very cooperative” in agreeing to the plan.
The FinCom also discussed several over-guideline requests for FY10. Angela Mollet of the Gleason Library requested $10,000 to maintain open hours. At the levy limit budget, three hours would have to be taken out of the weekly schedule. She said keeping the library open is a priority “when there isn’t any other public area open in town.” She noted that circulation is up by 2,000 in spite of the reduced Saturday hours this year.
Chair Tom Schultz of the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) reported that, although in past years his committee has been able to use its revolving funds to reduce the operating budget, “this year revenue accounts, to put it mildly, are kind of drying up” with a drop in filings due to the slow economy. The committee has cut back and is requesting $14,000 to replenish funds and restore hours. Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie noted that although filings are down, work with other committees such as land stewardship and trails has risen. Much of the work is regulatory and cannot be taken on by a volunteer, reported Sylvia Willard, who also reminded the FinCom that the Hanover Hill development will require a good deal of ConsCom work.
Kathy Mull of the Council on Aging (COA) asked for $1,596 to be added to its $5,800 over-budget request. The $1,596 would replace funds for outreach salaries previously funded through a grant. She noted the COA will also be adding a Warrant Article at Town Meeting for a social worker now funded by a Community Chest grant that may not come through. The social worker would cost $7,000 per year. If the grant is received the funds will remain unspent.
McKenzie reported that the Minuteman Regional School District is requesting $31,980 over the guideline budget for FY10. She was unable to get information on what that request entails. A Minuteman representative will be invited to the March 2 meeting to explain. ∆
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