Friday, November 26, 2010
Finance Committee Shorts, Nov. 15
• Police Department. Having been asked to present a 0% and a 2% budget increase for the 2011 fiscal year, Lt. Leo Crowe said that for 0% he had to cut several different areas – education, fuel and equipment – when he spoke to the Finance Committee on November 15. For the 2% budget he presented $21,000 for equipment, the same amount as last year. Equipment includes wireless, laptops for cruisers and equipment within the station. Education includes recertification and in-service training. Regarding maintenance costs he said that maintenance cost should be down a little bit since the department has a new heating system and NStar replaced all of the lighting.
A 2% increase would add $24,000 to the overall department budget. Finance Director Larry Barton said that he felt that most departments could work with a 2% but that a “needs assessment” indicates that the Police Department could justify an additional 1%.
• Communications and Fire Department. Fire Chief David Flannery said that Communications has four full-time people and has one position to fill. When queried on the need for five dispatcher positions, he said, “Communications is the only 24/7 operation in town. It is the lifeline in Carlisle for anything you need.” He said that they were on target with the FY10 budget. He did not have FY11 details yet, but was working with a budget number of $285,980. A 2% increase would take it to $291,700 with 90% of that being wages.
When discussing EMT/ALS (Emergency Medical and Advanced Life Support) Flannery said that at this time they are “revenue neutral” – billing is meeting expenses. However he said that he could use some help, perhaps 10 hours a week, to keep up with billing and administration of the program. The Senior Tax Worker Program was suggested as a way to supply that support. (Carlisle property owners 60 years old or older are eligible to apply and receive credit on their property taxes.) Since February, ALS has been provided by a private vendor and billed at approximately $1,700 per call. Carlisle is only 2% of the ALS call volume.
In reviewing the Fire Department budget, Flannery said that a problem area for the future will be fire cistern maintenance. (See also “Fire cistern floats, seal breaks,” November 12.) As the systems age, he expects pump and controls replacements will be needed.
• Recreation Commission. Mark Spears of the Recreation Commission said that an “organic plan” for maintenance of playing fields was initiated a few years ago. The fields are showing signs of wear and tear and maintenance costs are increasing. He said, “If we stay with organics, we will have to increase the budget. Organics cost almost twice as much [as a chemical program].” He indicated that private donations have helped this year (FY11) but, without them, the cost would be $23,000 a year.
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