Tuesday, March 17, 2009

09/10 budget - March 16 meeting

Some comments on last night's budget meeting...

Twice I broached the topic of reducing the budget by an additional 10%. I figured the state is talking about reducing municipal funding by 10-15%, we need to at least discuss further significant budget cuts.

I also asked about the responsibilities of the Assistant Town Manager. IMO, that's an unnecessary role and may be overly burdensome on staff (see here for a previous description of my concern). And there's a stipend (approx. $4,000 / yr) associated with the title that could be cut without any change in services. I've been trying to eliminate it for years, but haven't had five votes. Thankfully, the Council may now have five votes to address some long ignored issues. We'll see.

One resident asked about reductions in teaching staff. He explained that if a school has a strings teacher and a brass teacher in the music program... he felt they should not be considered classroom teachers. And if such positions went unfilled next year, they shouldn't be discussed in terms of classroom size. On the same topic, I asked if learning initiative teachers were considered classroom teachers. (IMO, "LITs" are not classroom teachers. And those positions need not be filled.)

Jimmy Sima asked about the need to maintain current staffing levels in the Building Dept and Planning Dept. He reasoned that there was little work in either department. So if there are retirements in Town Hall... perhaps some of that workload could be shifted?

Overtime was discussed. I expect there will be cuts to the overtime budgets.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

I hope the dem majority is not going to play the "class size" card. Even if classes increase by a few they still will be reasonable - many classrooms have just 19 or 20 - a couple more won't have a big impact. It would be interesting to know our surrounding towns' class sizes. I bet some are higher than ours already.

Robert DeVylder Jr said...

You have to be careful when if comes to class size. Some teachers contracts may call for raises if they teach X number of students. I think Waterbury has that clause. It could be like AIG all over again.