Selectmen discuss state aid, FY 2012 budget
Hudson – Two local lawmakers met with the Board of Selectmen at its Jan. 24 meeting to discuss an issue on the minds of every town official across the commonwealth this year – state aid.
“I’m not sure where things will come out with local aid,” State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) told the board. “I do think something is going to happen with municipal health insurance reform.”
“It’s a very long process,” State Representative Kate Hogan (DStow) said, of finalizing the state’s final budget. “We haven’t seen how (local aid) is outlined in the budget; it’s very early in the process.” Eldridge and Hogan both expressed the importance of town issues having a forum in state politics and encouraged the selectmen to maintain an open dialogue.
Turning to other fiscal matters, the selectmen approved a number of requests as they work towards finalizing the FY 2012 budget. Once line items are approved, the Finance Committee will then make their recommendations before voters have their say at this year’s Town Meeting, which will be held May 2.
The board approved a request from the Department of Public Works for $5.85 million; $1.9 million for sewer collection and disposal, and approximately $1.4 million for the water department. Central administration was approved for more than $720,000, followed by streets at $713,000 and Parks/ Cemetery/Forestry at $478,000.
Highway snow and ice removal was approved for $326,000 prompting Selectman Joseph Durant to comment, “That will last through next week.” The smallest budget request in the public works department was $305,000 for new vehicles.
“This department will continue to provide all the services to the town as outlined in this budget,” Public Works Director Anthony Marques said.
The Police Department had the second largest budget request at just over $3 million. Police Chief Richard Braga told the board that as part of the department’s capital plan, the Hudson police are looking to purchase three new cruisers and hope to purchase tasers before FY 2016, when the department is budgeted to acquire the weapons.
The Fire Department was approved for $2.8 million with changes coming to the department as police and fire emergency calls are soon to be dispatched from the same call center.
“I would like to say I wish we had more money for you,” Selectman James Vereault said to the Director of Recreation Linda Ghiloni. This year’s budget request for that department had a slight increase in salary and was approved for more than $280,000. The Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board were approved for a combined total of more than $8,000.
The board also approved just over $1 million for the Capital Plan, which according to town documents “provides a longterm program for the maintenance and replacement of major equipment and facilities needed by the town departments in carrying out their duties.” Monies for these projects are appropriated through available funds or other means or require borrowing.
Other action taken by the board included approving three licenses, including an Entertainment License for the Old School House Pub and Restaurant which would like to feature a mechanical bull ride (prompting comparisons from the board to the John Travolta movie “Urban Cowboy”); four personnel appointments; approval of a Snow and Ice Overdraft authority for a total of $169,000; and snow plow and hauling contracts with Fossile Construction, Inc. and Vegas Builders.
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