Board of Selectmen’s special meeting: Monday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the High School Media Center. The purpose of this meeting is to receive the preliminary report of the Charter Revision Commission.
Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting: Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the High School Media center.
Board of Finance Budget meetings: Generally Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings throughout the month of March. Check Town website for place and times.
Highlights of Selectmen's Meeting
Town Finances: Jay Wahlberg, the town’s controller, reported that our financial position is good. Our expenses are within budget and the revenue is exceeding our plan to date. The largest challenge we have had so far has been the large expenses associated with the clean up from the October snowstorm. The cost of that was nearly $1 million! However the bulk of that will be reimbursed by FEMA so there will be limited impact on our local budget.
Budget for 2013: On March 1, (July 2012 — June 2013) to the Board of Finance for their consideration. I have summarized the proposal in the table below.Municipal OperationsCapitalDebtEducationTotalCurrent Budget13,985,678 1,051,316 4,172,006 36,150,000 55,314,000Proposal for 201314,454,545 1,562,677 3,914,229 37,185,545 57,116,996$ Change468,867 511,361 (212,777) 1,035,545 1,802,996% Change3.4 48.6 -5.2 2.9 3.3
Bill Davidson did a presentation at our meeting taking us through the budget proposal. I would urge you to find time to watch it on Chanel 17 when the meeting is replayed.
The budget, in my opinion, is a reasoned and responsible proposal. It maintains our basic services and proposes to add some small additions in vital services and some underserved areas. Specifically we are recommending the addition of another police officer, some expanded hours for some employees in the Senior Center, the Library and the Tax Collector’s office. Most importantly we are recommending establishing two Capital reserve funds. One is for future road maintenance so we can continue to maintain the roads and do not have to borrow in future years. The other is to establish a fund to augment the funds raised by our volunteer fire departments to purchase trucks in future years.
The recommendation would result in an increase in the mill rate, though because of the revaluation this past year, over 2/3 of Brookfield residents would see a tax decrease should this proposal be approved by the Board of Finance.
It is important to note here, that the Board of Selectmen split 2-1 in favor of this recommendation. Selectman Walker voted against this proposal indicating he would favor reducing the education portion of the budget.
The budget now goes to the Board of Finance for their review. The BOF will be meeting throughout March to discuss and deliberate on the Budget for 2013. They will make a recommendation to be considered by the Annual Town Meeting in May and ultimately at a referendum later that month. It is important for everyone to make their thoughts known to the Board of Finance now. They have no requirement to accept any of these recommendations.
There are two new members who were elected on a platform of NO SPENDING INCREASE, though they never gave any indication of how they would achieve that. During our deliberations, the Selectmen reached out to Finance Board members asking for their ideas on areas for savings. While we received input from some, we got no response from either of the two new members. It remains to be seen if their election rhetoric was just words or what actions they will now take to achieve their objectives. Your involvement is important to sustain a plan that is both reasonable and responsible to maintain our town and the quality of life we enjoy here.
Kids Kingdom: The work on Kids Kingdom has continued through the winter months thanks to the mild weather. A day for is being planned for April 29. If interested in participating you should contact Deidra Wallin Deirdra114@yahoo.com.
Water: Businesses on Del Mar Drive requested the Selectmen approve the Town to service that area. Water there is not potable. The Businesses will be assessed the full cost of construction. The Selectmen approved the request and forwarded a request for an appropriation of just under $400,000 to be bonded and as I mentioned the full cost of construction will be recovered through an assessment to the property owners.
Conservation Commission: The Selectmen forwarded to a Town Meeting (actual date to be determined) recommended . The changes were proposed to specifically include those responsibilities formally under the authority of the Gurski Commission.
Thanks for reading,