Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
February 3, 2009
Regular Session 7:05 pm
Mr. Riley, Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo
The following budgets were discussed:
The Police Chief expressed concern about the proposed cuts in the Harbormaster budget. The Harbormaster indicated that the department would work with available resources but urged the Board to consider some additional payroll money.
Deputy Chief Souther explained that the state had indicated there would be grant money available for the combined dispatch center. It is now likely that the money will not be available until July 2010, fiscal 2011.
The Chief said the proposed police budget cuts would mean losing three police positions ($150,000), crossing guards ($50,000) and two of the three school resource officers. The police minimum manning number is four cruisers on the road so if vacation/sick/personal time brings the force below that level an overtime situation is necessary. The Chief suggested that in order to meet the proposed budget it would mean the elimination of three patrol positions and the reassignment of the school resource officers to patrol. The Chief also noted that there had been a deliberate under-funding of the overtime line over a number of years but that under-funding has caught up. The Town receives revenue for removal of default warrants and traffic citations. Income to the Town is down about $9,000 per year due to a fewer number of tickets being written or citations being forgiven by the magistrate.
The Fire Chief said the new Central Fire Station has been in operation for just over a year. There are eight new firefighters and for the first time in over four years the department is close to a full complement. A recent grant received from the federal government will be used to purchase new thermal imaging cameras. There was also a grant received from the state that will allow the purchase of some new equipment. The new computers for the ambulances are already paying dividends in new revenues due to better reporting.
The Fire Department has designed a 30 year capital plan for vehicles and buildings. There has been a complete review of the equipment. The reduction of vehicle fuel is in the neighborhood of 200-300 gallons per month. Under a new program the Fire Department responds with one piece of equipment to alarm activations between 7 am and 9 pm. This has resulted in significant savings.
The Fire Chief said that last September a program of safety inspections was undertaken. There were very few issues found and those that were found were repaired. The Chief suggested that one of the ambulances be removed from service at times in order to make the necessary budget cuts. The other option, which he did not recommend, would be to close one of the fire stations. The maintaining three fire stations allows the fastest response of trained medical personnel to an incident. The busiest time for the ambulances is from 7 in the morning to 7 at night. Initially, the ambulance would be out of service for 24 hour periods, after some time it will likely be possible to have 12 hour periods of one ambulance instead of the 24 hour period. Chief Duff explained that eventually he hopes to get a small brush truck to get into areas of the state park and other areas to fight brush fires. He also remarked that the new personnel on the Department will allow lesser use of overtime. There was a lengthy discussion about the policy of running both the ambulance and the fire truck to medical calls. Mr. Paicos said that his experience in Easton bore out Chief Duff’s feeling that in many instances it is necessary to run the engine with the ambulance. Because it is impossible to predict when it is necessary to send the larger piece of equipment, the Chief said that for safety reasons he sends the larger truck. The Chief agreed to collect some data on when a second call comes in that would require the larger piece of equipment without return to the fire station.
Ms. Foley presented the budgets for Town Hall, Legal, Town Meeting, Engineering and Unclassified. The Selectmen/Town Administrator budget recommendation will be made to the Board by Mr. Paicos in the near future.
Meeting adjourned 10:05 pm.
Betty Foley, Clerk