Town departments told to tighten budget belts

Written by Susanna Sheehan
 | Wednesday, 13 August 2014 18:17


As the town gears up to tackle budgeting for the next fiscal year, Town Manager René Read has requested that preliminary budgets increase only by 2.25 percent for salaries and only by 1 percent for expenses.



In an Aug. 5 memo to all town department heads, boards and committees, Read stated that he expected all employees to “make every effort to comply with the request.”


“While these guidelines are not hard and fast rules, we expect each department to make this work,” Read wrote. “No department is exempt from adapting to these continuing difficult economic times. While we recognize that there will be exceptions, we also expect that these will be few and far between.”

Read also stated that the is “no room for additional programs or services, or expanding hours or current positions.”


The reason behind the call for frugality lies in the uncertainty of the current year’s finances, according to Read. While local receipts gained slightly more than 6 percent from FY13 to FY14, Read has determined that the town cannot rely on certain sources of revenue, such as beach sticker sales and ambulance revenues, as they can fluctuate due to outside forces. According to Read, while state aid may have increased by just over 2 percent in FY15, state assessments increased 16 percent “driven primarily by the 64 percent increase in educational assessments.”


“None of this indicates that things are likely to improve in FY16,” Read wrote, adding that “once again, this budget season will provide an opportunity for all of us to think and act creatively in order to provide services to the community...all of this will require great fiscal discipline by all of us.”


Read presented his budget memo, meeting schedule and calendar to the Board of Selectmen at their Monday night meeting.


Also at the meeting, selectmen:


Accepted a gift of an all-terrain vehicle to the Harbor- master’s department from the Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. The $8,999 vehicle will replace one currently in use.


Accepted a gift of a thermal imaging camera from the Duxbury Rotary Club to the Duxbury fire department. The value is $1,000.


Appointed Nicole Walters to the Historical Commission for a three-year term.


Re-appointed Linda Brodie, Clinton Watson and Gregg Morris to the Shellfish Advisory Committee, each for a three-year term. There is once vacancy on this committee.


Voted to call for a state primary election on Sept. 9 at the Chandler Elementary School.


Received an interim update on the Hall’s Corner study from the Economic Advisory Committee and its planning consultant. A final report is expected in October.