BOS October 30, 2013 Budget Meeting – RCL Key Points Summary

Key points:

1.  The general fund budget is up by nearly 4 percent.  However, the  increase will be substantially higher than that.  There are no cost of  living (COLA) increases in any of the budgets, in part because the  Police and Fire union contracts will be up and those will presumably  be in a separate warrant article.  The budget is increased by 53 weeks  in 2014, a 17 percent medical insurance increase, and a full year  without any State contribution to the retirement fund vs. only six  months last year.

2.  The Police Department budget was tabled until December 9.  There  is serious discussion about an additional full-time police officer or  two part-time officers during the summer to provide a beach patrol  shift.  The Police Chief wants a full-time officer, the Selectmen  appear to prefer one or two part-time summer officers.

3.  The Fire Department will not be requesting an added paramedic this  year to avoid a conflict with the Police request.  Currently there are  only three firefighter/paramedics and four shifts to fill.  A  suggestion that the Town use its leverage in contract negotiations to  permit termination of a firefighter and the hiring of a firefighter/ paramedic was opposed by the Fire Chief.  Plans for a second ambulance  will be presented December 9.

4.  The Conservation Commission budget was also tabled until December  9.  The Conservation Commission wants to introduce a $3 million  warrant article for land acquisition in 2014 to squeeze it in before  Town Hall funding.  They are aware of four subdivisions being planned  in Town, including the former Rand Lumber property and would like to  have funds available for these.  The appraisal of the former Rand  property is expected soon, and the agreement anticipated is that the  Town would be given 3-5 years to purchase the property at the  appraised value.  If that could not be done it could be developed.

5.  A third lifeguard for Cable Rd. Ext. is being considered.  See the  Beach and Cemetery sections for discussion of the heated arguments at  the October 9 public hearing.

6.  There was discussion of converting the just-filled Assistant Town  Clerk position to full-time, but medical insurance costs are a  concern.  There is also discussion of hiring a second part-time  employee for the Building Inspector’s department, with possible  sharing of the person with other departments.

7.  Cyndi Gillespie summarized all of the debt that will be maturing  between now and 2014 or 2015.  The Selectmen are pleased that this  will permit Town Hall debt to be taken on without increasing debt  service.  Selectman Musselman acknowledges that the Town Hall square  footage will be reduced.  However, the ongoing Public Works facility  study is to be completed shortly, and possible facility needs are not  in the CIP Plan beyond a new salt shed.