Monday, March 17, 2008

Budget mtg 3/17

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

The budget meeting kicked off with the Youth & Social Services Dept. With 11 ee's (6.52FTE), their proposed budget increases from $257,000 to $275,000.

Then the Police Dept presented their budget. Unsurprisingly I suppose, there was a lot of discussion about town-owned vehicles and the gas use policy governing the vehicles... to which the Chief explained that it's against dept policy for vehicles to leave the state, except on authorized town business. I personally found that reassuring. Regardless, I think we should probably simplify things and put GPS on all town owned vehicles... not just the ones that dept heads feel would benefit from GPS, as staff wrongly suggested.

I think what jumped out at me most in the PD budget though was this:I asked if it was a typo. It wasn't. There was some reason given about it being a reminder of sorts, but... I'm still scratching my head... wondering... could something like this, even inadvertently, have a deleterious effect on employee morale?

As for the overall PD budget... the current year is $3,819,000 with estimated expenditures at $3,669,000. And the TMs proposed budget is $4,003,000... it includes two new sworn officers (currently 48 sworn officers, 44 in the union & four in mgt). And of the two sworn officers, one position is funded for the full year (July 1 2008 - June 30, 2009) and one is funded for six months (starting on Jan 1, 2009).

Finally, the library budget was presented. Their current year budget (and estimated expenditures) is $1,101,000. The TMs proposed budget for next year is $1,164,000. My main question was about the future plans of the "VHS videotape" room upstairs... to which I got an earful about thoughts on a serious revamping of the library, including some new construction. Yikes. That could get expensive, but... I didn't press for any details tonight.

I think the most surprising comments of the night came during this discussion. A resident started asking for the library's winter Sunday hours to be extended into December. And Mike Ecke rebuked the request... basically saying "enough is enough, we can't do everything" (my words, not his) I have to admit... I was pretty impressed... now if he would just say that to the TM for once.... oh well... I'll take what I can get.

Your thoughts?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District


Anonymous said...

The police chief wants a 13% increase durin a time of recession where many of us are in pay freezes while our bills go up??
Give me a break.
I would love to hear why he feels he deserves that. Does he feel that he is doing such a good job keeping us safe?
I bet there are many people in this community who will question that.

John said...

Did the Chief request his own raise or did the Town Manager? There is a difference on how this should be interpreted.

tim white said...

Members of the PD get paid OT. In such cases, it is not uncommon that hourly guys get paid more than salaried guys. That's part of the equation here... and a legitimate concern IMO. (Though that s/b part of the consideration before making the leap from hourly to salary.)

But my question is focused not on the size of any particular raise. I'm wondering about the disparity among the raises.

Anonymous said...

why is the Cheif being considered for a $14,000 raise? I want an answer for this as should every resident of the town. Can we get an answer for this?

Anonymous said...

$330,000 inc. in the PD budget seems like a lot. With 2 new officers would overtime be reduced, or will it mean just more people getting overtime?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Tim, I understand your concern about the disparity in raises, but why does the chief feel he deserves that high of an increase?
Can you tell us what, if any, the increases have been since he took on the Chief's position? What about the other 2 positions?

I just feel that we are all in this recession and this is a time where we need to closely look at where our money is going. With the high costs of energy and fuel,all town departments budgets will be on the rise. As are our personal; expenses.
In the words of Mike Ecke..."enough is enough"

tim white said...

I understand your concern about the disparity in raises, but why does the chief feel he deserves that high of an increase?

As I mentioned, OT for others was mentioned. But I can't speak beyond that.

Can you tell us what, if any, the increases have been since he took on the Chief's position? What about the other 2 positions?

that'll take me some time to dig up the old budgets... and was hoping to get to that this weekend for a comprehensive budget review... not just the PD.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't someone just ask the TM? Is this increase needed to bring in him in line with other Police Chiefs in a similiar size town? Go from there. If it's the overtime concern that doesn't hold water. His job is to eliminate OT.

Anonymous said...

I dont think it matters if this increase is meant to bring him in line with other dont increase a paid officials salary by $14000 at taxpayer expense during a recession nontheless

Anonymous said...


Who actually prepares the budget for the PD? Is it the Chief? DOes this budget first pass through the TM for approval before going to the council?

Anonymous said...

How many officers do we really need? How is that figured? Is it based in population?