$4m town budget goes to voters

Friday, February 15, 2013



The proposed 2013 town budget is about a $190,000, or 4.9 percent, increase over the current budget.

Items contributing to the increase include a $60,000 increase for plowing and sanding, a $62,000 cost for re-evaluation, $40,000 for information technology support, and $51,000 in debt services for the safety complex

The Brookline Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator Tad Putney met Jan. 23 and 24 to review Brookline’s 2013 proposed budget and warrants. Finance Committee members Dennis Skey and Linda Chomiak joined the Jan. 24 meeting. The officials voted to recommend the $4.1 million proposed 2013 operating budget to voters at Town Meeting on March 13.

“What we have,” Putney said, “is not a flat or declining budget from last year. In part, this is due to three significant items. The plowing situation is the first. Last year, we had a mild winter that did not require much plowing and so the plowing budget was reduced by $60,000. This year we’ve had to put that money back into the budget to allow for more plowing.”

The second item is the town-wide re-evaluation, he said.

“This is a mandated process that needs to be performed every five years. 2013 is our year to do this, and therefore, it needed to be accounted for in the 2013 budget,” Putney said. “Lastly, Brookline is in the midst of building a new police station. The town must make payment in 2013 on the first year of a bond taken out for the building expense.”

The budget for the town ambulance was discussed and Skey provided a handout he prepared indicating the town of Mason should be paying Brookline $31,482 as its contribution, according to calculations of Mason having approximately 20 percent of the ambulance calls. After several motions and withdrawals, it was decided that selectmen or the town administrator will talk to Wes Whittier and negotiate a new fee for Mason; the increase is not to exceed more than 50 percent of last year’s figure.

Town departments presented their budgets without much discussion. A warrant article for the Highways, Streets and Bridges budget was reduced from $60,000 to $30,000, based on the remaining funds from last year’s warrant article. Also, $12,757 was added to the Fire Department budget for an invoice that was turned in after the deadline for the 2012 invoices to be paid.

After all the departments had presented their budgets, the board voted 3-2, with board members Darrell Philpot and Karl Dowling voting no, to recommend the proposed 2013 operating budget of $4.1 million. The Finance committee voted 2-0.

After hearing that six lives have been saved as a result of defibrillators, two defibrillators at a cost of $51,977 were accepted by the board, along with $30,000 for road/bridge improvement, $25,000 for renovations to Town Hall for additional office space, and $33,000 for milfoil control in Lake Potanipo. On each of those articles, the Finance Committee voted 1-1.

The last warrant article discussed was the allocation of $10,000 to update Brookline’s town history from 1914 to present. The Board of Selectmen voted for this article 5-0, with the members of the Finance committee voting 1-1.

The annual Brookline Town meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at Town Hall.

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