Wilton Budget Committee role questioned

WILTON – A member of the Budget Committee, all of whom are volunteers, inquired of the selectmen on Jan. 5 why the town administrator appears to be taking over some of their responsibilities, “overlapping some of our job,” Committee Member Donna Pucciarello said.

The town of Wilton operates under the Municipal Budget Act, meaning the town budget is prepared by an independent committee after consulting with town officials and department heads. In Wilton, that committee is appointed and consists of five members, plus a representative of the school board and a selectman. In some towns, the committee is advisory only.

“We meet with the department heads,” to discuss their budgets, Pucciarello said, but this year, “they have come with their budgets already prepared,” and the administrator, Scott Butcher, was the one who answered the questions.

“Isn’t he supposed to represent the selectmen and not the town?” she asked.

Butcher said they were “his department heads” and he needed to know their budgets, and he needed to be present at Budget Committee meetings with them. He said he “sat silently and didn’t say anything.”

Selectman Chairman Bill Condra said the selectmen “had delegated Butcher to be their representative.”

Pucciarello asked if the two boards could meet after the town meeting to “define the roles and the statutory obligations” of the Budget Committee.

Condra agreed that was a good idea.

Pucciarello also asked for the job description of a town administrator as opposed to a town manager. Both positions are defined in state law. The town administrator acts under the direction of the Select Board.

WILTON AGENDA CHANGES

WILTON – A request to be included on the Selectmen’s Monday meeting agenda must be received by the town office by the end of the business day on the previous Wednesday. However, if either the chairman of the board or the town administrator feels a topic is time sensitive, it may be added to the agenda at their discretion.

Selectmen said the change from the current deadline of Thursday is to give the selectmen more time “to study the agenda and make any needed preparations.”

Because the town office is closed on Wednesday, residents are advised to email the town office. See details on the town website.

People may also bring up a topic at any week’s “Public Comment” segment of the agenda and ask to be on the agenda the following week.

In answer to a question concerning minutes’ availability, Chairman Bill Condra said the board “does not and never will release draft minutes,” because of possible errors and corrections.

The previous week’s minutes are approved at the Monday meeting, and the final version usually released on the following day.

All information concerning the policy change has been posted on the town website. For additional information, email sbutcher@wiltonnh.gov or tow@wiltonnh.org.

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