It's that time of year again when town officials begin formulating the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Board of Selectmen have been meeting with department heads to get an overall picture of their budget needs for 2013-2014 which begins July 1, 2013.
As a side note, union contracts for clerical, public works and police employees expire in June. Salaries will remain the same until contract negotiations are complete.
This is an overall review of where supervisors see a need for increases as well as where they have decreases in their department. No numbers have been set in stone. The Board of Selectmen plans to finalize the budget at their February 6 meeting.
The Board of Finance plans to hold two budget meetings in the Green Room at Andrews Memorial Town Hall on Feb. 12 and Feb. 14, both at 7pm. The Board of Education is presenting their budget to the public on Feb. 28 at the Rose Room in Town Hall at 7pm.
There will be plenty of opportunity for community comment at the upcoming budget public hearings.
Here are some highlights from the Board of Selectmen budget review meetings and minutes:
Henry Carter Hull Library – The library received two grants, a $3,000 federal grant and a $5,000 Middlesex County grant to be used for training and workshops. Salaries increased by 2 percent. The department requested a total increase of $17,104 on a total budget request of $740,104.
Fire Marshal – Salaries increased by $5,000. The repairs and maintenance budget was reduced by $500. Fire Marshal Frank Schrempp reduced the supplies and personal protection gear by $500.
Fire Department – The biggest increase is $18,000 for advanced fire fighter training seminars and conferences. Contractual services increased by $11,150. Chief Jeff Heser requested a $10,000 line item for compensation when the fire chief and fire marshal are required to attend town meetings. First Selectman Willie Fritz reduced the required town meeting compensation line item to $7,000.
Animal Control – A new line item was added to the budget for the Regional Animal Shelter Facility. Each town (Clinton and Westbrook) will contribute $2,000 of which $1,000 will go towards utilities and food and $1,000 will go into a capital account for future capital expenses.
Police Communications – The overtime budget increased to cover shifts from a reduction in part-time employees. The repairs and maintenance budget increased due to the increase in fees for the radio towers.
Police Department – The department has requested two additional officers, one a school resource officer and one a detective. The vehicle repairs and maintenance budget increased from $30,000 to $37,000. The motorcycle patrol budget line is zero because the two Harley Davidson Motorcycles are now off lease and are owned by the town. Two new line items have been added to the budget: $1,600 to fund the canine program and $600 for commission expenses. Fritz reduced commission expenses request to $400.
Town Clerk – For the general code, Town Clerk Karen Marsden requested to have an additional line item added to her budget for its yearly maintenance ($1,200) and updating (approximately $1,500). This is usually paid for out of a preservation account but the state no longer allows towns to pay for budget items from this account. The office has collected more than 50 percent of revenue for half a year. Town Clerk’s salary increased by 2 percent.
Tomorrow, look for preliminary budget outlines for the Tax Collector, Town Hall maintenance, Building Department, Inland Wetlands, Planning & Zoning, Zoning Board of Appeals and Human Services (Social Services and Youth & Family Services combined).