Residents to vote on budget and combined Treasurer-Collector position
DUDLEY – Voters at the Fall Town Meeting next Monday night will be asked to vote on a series of budget items that include a narrow band radio system for the fire department and vocational school tuition and transportation expenses. The items are contained in a supplemental budget proposal which will use free cash to pay for unfunded state mandates as well as a number of public safety items.
The town has an estimated $225,904 in free cash which it can use to pay the expenses, some of them unforeseen when the fiscal year 2013 budget was approved in May, as well as restore some line items removed at that time. Free cash is money unspent from the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.
The state mandates include an update to the fire department’s radio system to conform to new narrow band regulations required by the FCC. The system will cost $67,647 and will allow the town to communicate with other area towns.
Another high cost line item is $33,344, which will cover tuition and transportation for a Dudley student to attend Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole.
The supplementary budget also calls for the restoration of items that were cut from the fiscal 2013 budget. One is $30,000 to continue EMS coverage by the Fire Department between 6:00 p.m. and midnight, now set to expire on November 1. If passed, the $30,000 will allow coverage to continue until the end of the fiscal year.
Another is the restoration of $10,324 to keep the streetlights on. One hundred and fifty streetlights were slated to be turned off in November to save on the cost of electricity. The supplementary budget also includes $15,000 for Police Department overtime and lifeguard expenses.
A separate budget item is the purchase of a new pickup truck for the Sewer Department. Its cost of $43,148 will come from Sewer Department retained earnings.
Two articles on the warrant concern a proposal to combine the positions of Town Treasurer and Tax Collector into one Treasurer-Collector. This kind of action can be accomplished in two ways, by a town meeting vote followed by a ballot, or by a special act of the legislature.
The Board of Selectmen proposed an article (#18) establishing the combined position according to Chapter 41 of the Massachusetts General Laws, requiring the two votes at town meeting and ballot. The current Town Treasurer, Richard Carmignani Jr., who is also serving as Tax Collector, has submitted a separate warrant article (#20) that would petition the General Court to take the special action.
Both articles make the combined position an elected one, as they are now. Selectmen discussed the wisdom of combining the roles of Tax Collector and Treasurer in light of the fact there would be no checks and balances in the new position. They also considered the wisdom of having the new position be appointed or elected. “There’s the matter of accountability,” said Town Administrator Peter Jankowski.
With an elected position, there is no accountability to the Board of Selectmen. An appointed position would have that oversight.” The people will have to decide whether or not to combine the positions and have it be elected or appointed, he said.
The meeting will be October 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the Shepherd Hill Regional High School auditorium.
- Wednesday, 24 October 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News