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[Update] Whittled Town Budget Proposed At $14.95 Million

Represents an increase of $662,579 or 4.64 percent over the current budget

Note and clarification: at their February 8 meeting, the Board of Selectmen made clear their motion of February 1 to say, "to approve the budget as revised and send it to the Board of Finance." All BOS members voted in favor of the motion.

First Selectman Willie Fritz noted that at that meeting he said, "motion to approve..." which was "so noted" by Selectman Dolly Mezzetti.

"I would not have sent the budget to the Board of Finance without approving it," said Mezzetti. "The approval and support of the budget was inherent in the motion."

At their meeting February 1, the Board of Selectmen reviewed the town budget for the upcoming fiscal year which runs July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

As First Selectman Willie Fritz noted, after several weeks of crunching the numbers, he whittled it down to a total of $14,951,364. This number represents an increase of $662,579 (or 4.64 percent) over the current budget which is $14,288,785.

This is for the town only budget, he noted. The proposed school budget for fiscal '12-'13 was presented Jan. 25 by the superintendent of schools.

Line by line Fritz reviewed the cuts or decreases in department budgets such as the by $1,600; the by $8,400; maintenance for by $2,000; the by $1,400; the fire marshal by $36,250; communications by $79,000; the by $70,000; by $47,900; and by $33,000, to name a few.

The budget, which had been was approved by the board for $693,500, but not for their requested amount of $764,175.

Capital improvement requests dropped from $1.18 million to $552,000.

"Capital requests last year was only $478,000," said Fritz.

Selectman Dolly Mezzetti proposed that the first selectman's salary be increased by two or two and a half percent.

"The first selectman's raise has been flat for the past three years," said Mezzetti.

Selectman Carol Walter pointed out that the first selectman did receive a raise this year.

"But he deferred it," said Mezzetti.

"It's only right that we keep the position funded," said Selectman Tom Vicino.

In the end, a vote was taken to provide the position with a two percent salary increase, or $1,652. The motion passed with Mezzetti, Vicino and Selectman John Giannotti voting in favor of the increase. Carol Walter voted against it.

All members of the Board of Selectmen voted in favor of the proposed $14.95 million budget for fiscal '12-'13 and to forward it to the Board of Finance for their review.

Here is which compares the current year to the proposed budget.

 

Town Department

Board of Selectmen's Approved

Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Request

Selectmen             $177,273 Finance             $171,563 Elections & Meetings               $30,684 Town Clerk             $155,820 Assessor             $132,782 Tax Collector             $152,453 Probate Court                $4,524 Economic Development                $4,350 Inland Wetlands Comm.              $66,386 Zoning Board of Appeals                $3,000 Planning & Zoning Comm.              $69,606 Town Hall Maintenance            $160,888 Fire Department            $292,087 Fire Marshal              $39,500 Communications            $467,361 Police         $2,496,470 Animal Control              $64,206 Civil Preparedness                $4,600 Water & Hydrants            $362,497 Street Lighting            $121,000 Dept. Public Works         $1,543,606 Technology            $174,767 Water Pollution Control Comm.              $52,550 Building Dept.            $110,184 Regional Health Dept.            $163,308 Social Services              $42,201 Park & Recreation            $243,813 Harbor Commission              $37,500 Shellfish Commission                $3,000 Youth & Family Services            $186,434

General Gov't Administration (benefits) 

        $4,449,505 Other General Gov't            $346,600 Debt Redemption - Town         $1,375,346 Capital Improvement - Town            $552,000 Library            $693,500 Total Town        $14,951,364
VIN CIMINO February 03, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Why are we only hearing where cuts were made? If everything was cut, we wouldn't be looking at a 5% increase. Tell us where the increases are.
Jonathan Sanders February 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I read it as the cuts made were not cuts from current 2011-2012 budget levels, but rather cuts he made to requested budgets levels that each department made for the 2012-2013 budget.
Pat February 03, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Did anyone working on this budget happen to hear about the recent state shortfall. Even after the Govenor raised your taxes. Yet we find a way to increase both our town and education budgets. Where do you think this money is going to come from. Sorry Willie, while I thank you for not accepting the raise in the past. I am appalled that the committee would even consider giving you a increase. It is clear to me that none of you live in the real world. I generally do not like to cut services. but is there really a choice? Someone explain to me how you do this.
Clnton Conservative February 03, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Fay, I have to tell you when I saw this posted on the site's main page I was excited to read the article. So you did a good job drawing me in. Then you made me laugh when I saw "This number represents an increase of $662,579 (or 4.64 percent) over the current budget which is $14,288,785." I wonder how many employed individuals would consider a 4.64% salary increase to be "whittlled down" these days? Comical...very comical Fay...you made my day.
VIN CIMINO February 03, 2012 at 04:09 PM
It would be helpful to see the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget alongside the BOS's proposed Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget so we can see where the proposed increases are. Could you also do the same for the BOE budget. Side-by-side comparisons would be easier to analyze and evaluate. Thanks.
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) February 03, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Glad I made your day "Clnton Conservative," but that was exactly what happened at the meeting. The original proposed budget given to the selectmen by the department heads was reduced, decreased, whittled, shaved off, etc. by officials to come up with the $14.95 million number.
Clnton Conservative February 03, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I nominate that as the "Jedi Mnd Trick" of the year then. Somehow, "whittled down" gets translated into a 4.64% increase. Isn't that like saying a positive number is really a negative number. I am still laughing.
mrshess February 03, 2012 at 04:58 PM
And on top of this, they want a new high school? I would love a new school, but how are we taxpayers going to pay for it? Many of us are stretched THINNNNNNN already.
Meg February 03, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I read this in the BOS minutes of Jan 26: Fire Marshal – Fire Marshal Frank Schrempp reviewed this budget. Schrempp requested an increase in salaries from $35,000 to $71,000. Schrempp is currently receiving $20,000 and has requested $60,000 for FY 2012/13. Schrempp said he works between 10-25 hours per week as Fire Marshal. Schrempp stated there are many things he should be doing but doesn’t because he doesn’t get paid enough to do all them. Schrempp requested a new vehicle through CEC. The current vehicle has over 100,000 miles. If Schrempp gets a new vehicle then his repairs/maintenance budget will decrease. Can anyone explain if Mr. Schrempp is paid $20K and is now requesting $60K...a 300% increase? Or am I just misreading the text?
Meg February 03, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Hit the wrong key...$20K to $60K is a 200% increase..
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) February 03, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Vin - Just posted a comparison of the current fiscal year numbers, the requested numbers, and the approved (proposed '12-'13) numbers.
Catherine Warren Fisher February 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
@ Clnton Conservative "I nominate that as the "Jedi Mnd Trick" of the year then" ... I'm guessing that it's pretty damn easy to Jedi MInd Trick you. Personally, I find your lack of faith disturbing. I am still laughing.
Catherine Warren Fisher February 03, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I'd be interested in hearing more about Megs point....
Fran M. February 03, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Meg-- looks like in the current "whittled down" budget plan, the Fire Marshall is only getting a $500 budget increase...not the $40K increase requested.
Fran M. February 03, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Adding the budget comparison to this article as a link, FYI http://clinton.patch.com/articles/town-budget-comparison-chart
Steve Bristol February 03, 2012 at 08:09 PM
No matter how any Clinton taxpayer feels about the two budgets being proposed or the job the current administration has done, there should be no question that we need to move to a professional Town Manager. We are talking about over $46 million of our money being spent. I urge concerned taxpayers to recommend this change in some form to the just-appointed Town Charter Revision Committee.
Steve Bristol February 03, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Apologies, I was thinking the BOE was $31.7 as opposed to $30.7 million.
Carol D Walter February 04, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Correction: Please note, Mezzetti's motion for the Board of Selectmen did not approve the budget, the motion was made strictly to send the revised budget on to the Board of Finance.
Len Fried February 04, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Comparing what was requested in a budget to what was approved is one of the oldest financial tricks, and insults the intelligence of the town's taxpayers. The only meaningful comparison is year to year. For example Willie Fritz states that he cut the police budget by $70,000, when in fact it has increased compared to 2011/2012 by $171,425. Similarly he states that Public Works was cut by $47,900 when it increased year to year by $18,766. Len Fried
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) February 04, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I heard the following: motion to approve the revised budget and send to the Board of Finance. All in favor - yes.
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) February 04, 2012 at 01:57 AM
From last year's minutes of Feb. 3, 2011: Mezzetti made a motion, seconded by Vicino, to APPROVE the town budget for $14,626,032 and send to the Board of Finance. The motion was unanimously approved.
Carol D Walter February 04, 2012 at 04:15 AM
From the minutes of Feb. 1, 2012: Mezzetti made a motion to send the town budget to the Board of Finance including the adjustment made tonight for a total of $14,951,364 or 4.64 percent above last year. The motion was unanimously approved. NOTE: The MOTION was approved, this is not the same thing as approving the budget.
Catherine Warren Fisher February 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM
There's a great article in the NH Register today on page 2 re: budget... it explains why the police budget went up... including the SRO approval (which I think should come out of the school budget) and a nice $150,000 retro pay in settlement for a labor dispute. I think the budget is pretty much as good as it can get given the circumstances. Fritz slashed the request for Fire Marshal Schrempp & also capital improvements budget.
Steve Bristol February 04, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Catherine RE: Full disclosure---Any relation to the article writer, Stan Fisher? Thanks.
Catherine Warren Fisher February 05, 2012 at 12:38 PM
I have no idea what you're talking about Clemson - Fay wrote the article & I know no Stan
VIN CIMINO February 06, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Fay, thank you for providing this side-by-side comparison chart. It certainly facilitates the identification of where the increases are. Clearly, the bulk of the proposed increase in the town budget can be found in the general government, police department and library budgets. Without any increase in the grand list, these are significant increases, particularly if we are to consider a new or significantly remodeled high school anytime soon. I hope that all residents will come out, express their opinions at public hearing and vote on the proposed budget. It's your town and your money.
Phil Sengle February 06, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Just so everybody knows. The financial side of the police union contract was negotiated by our First Selectman. The police union was without a contract for about 2 1/2 years with no raises which I'm sure is not common knowledge. The raises were given retroactively. Maybe Willie could have done a little better job. But that's speculation as none of us were at the table. Any reductions attainable during negotiations would probably be marginal at best (my opinion). The big financial problem in Clinton is lack of economic development caused by lack of leadership. Without some leadership and results in this area we won't be able to afford anything. The public re-elected our First Selctman for a 4th term by a substantial margin, so now you have to live with the consequences. Don't complain now. The definition of idiocy is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.
Mark February 06, 2012 at 10:21 PM
All, The article does indicate a request for a budget increase from $20 to $60K. Can you post the link to the article Meg. Thanks.
Mark February 06, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Sorry, pay increase
Steve Bristol February 07, 2012 at 02:35 PM
CWF---The NH Register article re: Clinton budget adjustments I saw has a byline "Stan Fisher." That's why I asked.

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