At Monday night’s Town Council Meeting Councilor Albert Vecchia read a pledge to reduce departmental budgets by 1% from current levels during fiscal year 2016.
The pledge cited four specific reasons for its enactment:
1. The pressure on residents from increasing water and sewer rates;
2. The imminent expiration of landfill revenues;
3. A stagnant commercial tax base;
4. Increased out of school placement.
The pledge was signed by Councilors Moriarty, Carrasco, Vandal, and Estrada as well as by Vecchia.
The pledge expanded upon the view that Councilor Vecchia expressed earlier in the evening regarding the town’s free cash. Town Accountant Karen Harnois indicated that free cash had been certified by the State at $1.1 million. Vecchia stated the view that the figure should represent 10% of the town’s budget. As such it should be in the range of $5 million.
In light of the fact that the pledge had been signed by a majority of the Council’s membership, Vecchia stated that the interim Town Manager should be guided by it in the preparation of the FY 2016 budget. He further indicated that the School department should also be directed to adhere to the guideline.
During Councilors Forum both Councilors Steeves and Manna indicated their objection to not being informed of the pledge and stated their opposition to it.