The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 5, 2009

Selectmen debate Quinn Bill cuts

The shrinking state coffers will affect the town budget for this year (ending on June 30), and will negatively impact Carlisle Police salaries. The state will only honor 91% of the funding allotted to the Quinn Bill, the state reimbursements made to towns to fund career incentives to police employees.

Through the Quinn Bill education incentive program, the state and municipalities have supplemented the salaries of police officers who receive college degrees. In the past, Carlisle has matched the state Quinn Bill funding. For example, the state and town each contributed 5% above a police officer’s base salary for an associate’s degree, 10%, for a bachelor’s degree and 12.5% for a master’s degree.

The state has already paid out $57,463 to Carlisle Police employees this year, but may not fund the remaining 9%, or $5,037. The state portion not received to date affects ten officers. Of these, six are due less than $500, while the maximum outstanding sum is $907.

Selectman Tim Hult interpreted the current police contracts to mean the town need only match whatever funds the state allots. Contacted after the meeting, Selectman Doug Stevenson said that the town will match its part of the committed percentage fully even if the state does not live up to its commitment.

However, the town should not be held responsible for making up the state’s shortfall, he added.“The intent of this law in all contracts is to hold the town harmless if the state didn’t come through with its funding of educational programs,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson stressed it was important to hold to the signed police contracts and not make up the state funds. While the effect of covering the $5,037 would be negligible on the FY09 town budget, the state aid will probably be reduced even more in FY10.

Carlisle Town Treasurer Larry Barton noted that the state’s FY10 budget will not be finalized until July 1. Initially state legislators talked about completely dropping Quinn Bill funding, but already some of the money rewarding police education has been restored. Barton anticipates an overall town budget shortfall in the “worst case” of about $44,000, and said this “deficit’s probably not enough” to make it necessary to “run back” and call a Special Town Meeting with respect to the FY10 budget. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito