March 26’s Board of Finance meeting saw both the town and school budgets approved and sent on to the voters in a referendum on May 8.
A Facebook livestream video (thank you, Bob Moran) can be found here.
The Board agreed that the Selectmen’s budget was very tight. It includes a 7% reduction in the police department and it was noted that 80% of the cost of the new SRO at Barlow will be paid on the Region 9 budget. The SRO at Barlow will be replaced with an SSO.
The uncertainty about State aid was discussed. The probability that we will not receive any for the near future has been taken into account when formulating the budget.
On the motion of Mr. Mazzucco and the second of Mr. Dean, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Selectmen’s Budget of $14,796,773.
The Board of Education budget as presented represented an increase of 4.34%. Dr. McMorran noted that the budget goal is to spend 99% and funds will only be used if needed.
Miller and Barickman were in favor of passing the budget as presented. Mazzucco noted the difference between what we want vs. what we can reasonably afford to do. He cited the loss of state aid, risk of teacher pension costs, change in federal tax law, decline in assessments and grand list and decline in housing prices as factors suggesting caution in setting budgets.
Mr. Barickman moved and Mr. Miller seconded to approve the Board of Education budget as presented at $21,652,623. Miller and Barickman approved. Dean, Mazzucco, Clark and Yonkers opposed, so the motion failed.
Mr. Mazzucco moved and Ms. Clark seconded to approve the Board of Education budget of $21,167,676. Mazzucco and Clark approved. Dean, Barickman, Miller and Yonkers opposed, so the motion failed.
Mr. Dean moved and Mr. Barickman seconded to approve the Board of Education budget of $21,552,623. Dean, Barickman, Miller and Clark approved. Mazzucco and Yonkers opposed. The motion passed.
On the motion of Mr. Mazzucco and the second of Ms. Clark, the Board voted unanimously to approve the combined budget of $36,349,396.