JUNE 14, 2005
Chairman Perkins called the meeting to order at 7:01 PM.
Selectman Wiksten, and Selectman Andrews were present.
Selectwoman Brunelle and Selectman Bond were absent.
Letter to Governor Romney
The Board reviewed a letter to be sent to Governor Romney in regards to the construction on Rte. 44.
Selectman Wiksten cautioned using jersey barriers for a long distance, noting the difficulty for emergency vehicles to get to accidents. He said the road should be widened.
Minor wording changes were suggested by Selectman Andrews.
Upon motion by Selectman Andrews and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board
VOTED: To send the letter as amended.
Mr. Healey told the Board that the FinCom is “banking on the Board of Selectmen coming up with money for the Fall Town Meeting to balance the budget”. He said this is not going to happen. The shortfall is about $1 million.
Mr. Healey told the Board that 5% department cuts had been reviewed last night. Tonight the Board will review 10% budget cuts.
Selectman Andrews asked if the Board should be concentrating more on a 5% or 10% budget cut.
Mr. Healey said the Revenue and Expenditure Analysis is favoring a 10% reduction.
Mr. Healey said the Board is still out $367,727 before New Growth and potential new receipts. He said a 10% administrative fee for private police details should add approximately $200,000.
The Board reviewed each department’s budget with a 10% cut and the impact of it.
As the Board reviewed the budgets, those that would be the most impacted were “flagged” to be further reviewed. These included the Assessor’s Office, Town Clerk’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, ZBA Office, Building Department, and highway Department.
Discussion ensued on the Veterans’ Budget. Money for medical and cash aid had been cut.
Ms. MacDonald explained that some people who had been receiving the aid are returning to work.
Mr. Healey cautioned that if the Town didn’t fully fund this line item, it would not receive 50% reimbursement. If the State has to pay, it would assess the Town at 100%. He said the problem with reducing this is that the FinCom has only left about $50,000 in the Reserve Transfer Fund. He suggested revisiting this in the fall.
Discussion ensued on the Library Budget.
Danielle Bowker explained that grant money could be lost, and residents would not be able to use other libraries. She said the Town could apply for a waiver.
Chairman Perkins asked, if the budget was cut 10%, would it guarantee the loss of certification.
Ms. Bowker said the Library is “always on the edge”. Less than a 2% cut from last year would “get us there”. She explained that a formula is used.
Chairman Perkins asked what the chances were for getting a waiver.
Marjorie Judd said there are only 50 available in the State. She said the State has to deem that it was a “fair cut”.
Selectman Andrews noted that other departments are being cut 10%, so it would not be unfair.
It was noted that, currently, there is no charge for using a meeting room.
Tom White asked if there were other fees that are charged besides meeting rooms.
Ms. Bowker said overdue fees, and charges for printing on the computers.
Upon motion by Selectman Andrews and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board
VOTED: To support the Library Board of Trustees in looking into charging fees for meeting rooms.
Mr. Healey asked what the impact of a 5% cut would be.
Ms. Bowker said a position would be cut back 6 hours per week, and Certification would be lost.
Discussion ensued on the Park Department’s Budget.
Harry Pickering told the Board that he is currently spending money out of the revolving account as he was out of money as of June 1st.
Mr. Pickering told the Board that he has cut supplies, but not personnel. He said the Park cannot run without people as it would destroy programs.
Chairman Perkins asked how the Park would run without supplies.
Mr. Pickering said some of the monies could be made up from the revolving fund.
Selectman Wiksten said he might have to run less of a program. He said the Park Department is a great luxury that is not mandated.
Mr. Healey noted that over $15,000 has been added to salaries in the submitted budget.
Mr. Pickering said concessions were made last year. He had been given $80,000 for supervisors, but paid over $100,000.
Mr. Healey said that the Park Department is not actually taking a cut as the revolving fund will fund the cuts. He said there should be a “real cut”.
Chairman Perkins asked how the Board could justify laying off police and fire personnel, but increase personnel services in the Park Department.
Discussion ensued on the programs offered, and the cost.
Mr. Pickering said the first time the Park Department had done away with the morning program, it lost kids.
Selectman Wiksten asked about increasing the fees.
Mr. Pickering said this would push out the people who need it the most.
Cheryl Leonard, Park Commission, said they could look at fees.
Selectman Andrews said there needs to be pay cuts.
Mr. Pickering said the Park Department would then have less trained employees.
Selectman Andrews asked that the personnel at least be level funded.
Mr. Pickering noted the number of people needed for the pool. He said “tubes” have been added, which require three (3) people to supervise.
Selectman Andrews said to eliminate the tubes.
Mr. Pickering said registration is Saturday.
Selectman Wiksten asked how much the Day Program costs.
Mr. Pickering said $200 for morning and afternoon for 2 weeks.
Selectman Wiksten said people were using the Park Department as “cheap daycare” for 9 AM to 4:30 PM.
Selectman Wiksten asked if only Middleboro residents enrolled in the programs.
Mr. Pickering said 98% are residents.
Selectman Andrews said upping the fee would be appropriate as it is only $3.00/hour.
Mr. Pickering noted there had been no charge until two (2) years ago.
Selectman Wiksten said it would be necessary to “save your budget”.
Mr. Healey suggested Mr. Pickering meet with himself and
Discussion ensued on what the shortfall was going into tonight’s meeting.
Ms. MacDonald said it was $569,000 with a 5% budget cut, and $367,727 with 10% cuts.
Chairman Perkins said he had been under the impression that the Board only needed to find another $569,000 to balance the budget. He said that is why he had asked to review some budget cuts.
Mr. Healey said $569,000 was saved by making 5% cuts. He said another 5% is needed, and there will still be a shortfall of $367,727. He said the difference could probably be made up with the new growth and additional local receipts.
Selectman Wiksten said this means that the Board would have to adopt the 10% budget.
Selectman Andrews suggested the Library could be eliminated.
Ms. Bowker said there would be a “huge floor fight” on the Town Meeting floor if this were suggested.
Selectman Wiksten said this would not be in the best interest of the town, and he would rather go with a 10% cut across the Board and deal with it as the year goes on.
Chairman Perkins said the Board has “gone through the exercise”. He said smaller departments will be hard to cut because they’re small, while bigger departments will have more people to cut. He said there would be no easy way.
Chairman Perkins said he was concerned with cutting hours in the ZBA because they are dealing with 40B projects.
Ms. MacDonald said every department will be impacted. She said if her department can’t collect it, the Town can’t spend it.
Upon motion by Selectman Wiksten and seconded by Selectman Andrews, the Board
VOTED: To accept 10% cuts “across the board”.
Mr. Healey said
The Board will reconvene on Thursday evening. Mr. Healey said he and Ms. MacDonald will continue to work together.
Upon motion by Selectman Andrews and Selectman Wiksten, the Board
VOTED: To adjourn at 9:59 PM.
BOARD OF SELECTMEN