Towns work on budget proposals

Hollis town officials won’t be presenting their proposed fiscal year 2011 budget to the Budget Committee until Nov. 23, but taxpayers will have a chance to follow the work in progress on the town’s website, where the preliminary budget and revenues are posted.

“We’ve posted the draft budget, and when it changes, we’ll update it,” said Town Administrator Troy Brown, who is overseeing the process.

Department heads were required to submit their proposed budgets to Brown by 3 p.m. Sept. 17.

On Oct. 4, emergency management, fire department, health department and public works department heads presented their preliminary spending plans to the board.

The process continues tonight with presentations by police, IT, cemetery trustees, the recreation commission, library trustees, finance, executive and legal department heads.

On Oct. 25, during a regular board meeting and budget workshop, officials will go over spending proposals for welfare and the capital improvement plan.

And on Nov. 22, during its regular meeting, the Board of Selectmen plans to adopt a proposed budget to be presented the following day to the Budget Committee.

The review process begins Dec. 14, followed by a second review Jan. 11, and town reports are due by noon Jan. 28.

The Budget Committee and town budget hearing is slated for Feb. 8, a month before Election Day on March 8. On March 9, voters meet to adopt the annual budget.

Brown said this week that it’s far too early to say what areas of the budget are likely to increase or decrease.

To stay informed, he added, “The easiest thing is to attend the budget work sessions, starting with the budget heads and Board of Selectmen meetings.”

Voters also have the option of watching the meetings on the local cable access channel, he said.

“I think citizens should always feel free to contact any department head or town official if they have a question,” Brown said. “Ask questions. Schedule a meeting.”

In nearby Brookline, department heads had until the end of last month to file their proposed budgets.

Department heads will meet with selectmen and the town’s finance committee, an advisory group, on Oct. 18 and 25 and on Nov. 1 and 8. The first meeting with department heads was held Oct. 4 . Selectmen received reports for ambulance and emergency management, building, sanitation, debt service and regional association budgets.

Hattie Bernstein can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 24, or hbernstein@cabinet.com.