By Thomas D’Agostino
“Ladies and gentlemen, could I just have a show of hands? How many people have a budget in their hand?”
This was Finance Committee Chairman Michael Finamore’s first question in regard to the budget that was supposed to be voted on during Webster’s Annual Town Meeting held in the Bartlett School Auditorium on Monday, May 14. Town Administrator John McAuliffe made a motion to move Articles 2, 3, and 4 in regard to the budget to the June 11 Town Meeting.
Mr. Finamore went on to state, “Why are we here? We’re here to act upon the budget…the budget should be ready tonight. I make a motion to approve the budget as presented to the Finance Committee, the School Committee and Town Administrator.”
Acting Town Moderator Deborah Keefe went on to state that such paperwork is not required and any provided by the town is a courtesy. Mr. McAuliffe went on to explain that this was the first time he has ever delayed a budget in Webster because it was “that difficult.”
According to Mr. McAuliffe, the town budget has been set but the state aid number has not yet been finalized. “I would rather eat crow and say we need another month.” Mr. McAuliffe stated.
Finance Committee members Joseph Beresik and Mr. Finamore took turns at the podium to relate their concerns over the budget. Mr. Finamore stated to the crowd that the school administrators took a 10-15% raise last year and some might retire on that higher salary. “You weren’t told that at last year’s meeting.” Mr. Finamore said.
He went on to state that they get 80% of their pay for a pension as well as the School Committee receiving an extra $819,519 for the fiscal year. Mr. Finamore also showed figures for the budget having a $159,022 deficit for the present fiscal year. The articles were moved to June 11.
Article 5, part of a “housekeeping” package that tidies up some finances passed unanimously.
Article 6 was to continue revolving funds for certain departments. The funds are generated through fees locally collected. The article passed unanimously.
Articles, 7, 8, 9 and 10 were for the replacement and repairs to roofs of the Wastewater Treatment Facility, sewer pump stations, rehabilitation of the primary and secondary clarifiers at the facility and the Park Road water storage tank. Each article contained the wording, “including all costs incidental and related thereto.”
This brought up red flags for the Finance Committee and again, Michael Finamore and Joseph Bereski took the podium to have those words omitted from the articles. Mr. Finamore wanted to know why the repairs on the roof are not included in the $15,000,000 Capital Improvements bond for the wastewater facility. DPW Director J.T. Gaucher explained that town officials decided that the repairs were maintenance items and should be paid for out of the budget. The $130,000 for replacement of two roofs at the plant would be divided between retained earnings from sewer, $110,000 and water $20,000. Another $50,000 would come from retained earnings to replace roofs of five pump stations. $150,000 would be transferred from Sewer Retained Earnings to address the clarifiers.
In regard to the water tank, $600,000 was requested for the work on the tank but the Finance Committee requested that the number be brought to $450,000 and if more funds were needed, they could be asked for later. The consent by the town officials was that the $600,000 would be inflated if there were no lead paint present in the tank.
All requested amendments were voted out and all articles were unanimously approved.
Before Article 10 was presented, Mr. Bereski requested a recount for a quorum. The recount came back at 64, only three more than the necessary number needed.
Mr. Bereski addressed the crowd, “You know ladies and gentlemen, it’s sad that we only have three over the limit that we need, (quorum) very sad…thank you for being here tonight.”
Article 11, the retirees cost of living increase passed.
Article 12 was ruled out of order as it can only be passed by a change in the town charter.
Article 13 where no town employee may serve on a Personnel Advisory Board also passed.
Article 14, in regard to Bay Path School was passed over as the project is now on hold.
- Tuesday, 15 May 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News