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Waterford Finalizes $78.8 Million Budget [POLL]

RTM Finishes Review With Endorsement Of Budget

Wednesday night, Waterford’s Representative Town Meeting finalized a that should raise taxes around 5.4 percent.

The town’s 22-person RTM, which has the final say on the town’s budget, finished its three-day budget review Wednesday and approved the $78.8 million total with just one dissenting vote. During its three-day budget review, the RTM reduced the budget by $6,580.

The actual tax increase has not yet been finalized as it is up to the Board of Finance to set the tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year, which will happen soon. Board of Finance member J.W. “Bill” Sheehan to rise from this year’s rate of 18.79 mills to 19.82 mills, a 5.46 percent increase.

Wednesday Night

Wednesday, the RTM had its final night of budget reviews. To start the meeting, resident James Lundborg and RTM member Janet Smith made pleas to the group to cut the budget.

However no cuts were even proposed Wednesday night. Smith did not vote for many of the budgets Wednesday and was the only present RTM member not to vote for the $78.8 million total, but proposed no cuts to any budget.

The largest budget the RTM reviewed Wednesday, and the largest budget overall, by the Board of Education. The $44.2 million total is a $1.2 million, or 2.99 percent, increase over this year’s $42.9 million total.

Superintendent Jerome Belair and Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty gave a presentation on the budget and RTM members asked several questions, although no cuts were proposed. Several RTM members commended Belair and his staff for finding ways to contain costs.

Foofaraw May 10, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Trim the fat all the way around, until it hurts---just like private sector!
Waterford Rez May 11, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Carol, exactly how do they look out for themselves...just wondering. DO they exempt themselves from taxes? I am guessing they all pay property taxes. So countless hours after work at the town hall (unpaid), doing everything possible to keep the taxes as low as possible without cutting serves and all people do is whine. John Sheehan has written volumes about the budget. It is public. Go get it and suggest to the BOS, BOF and RTM what services should be cut. Mr. Sheehan made it very clear that a vast majority of the budget is basically untouchable. Salaries, pensions, benefits, fuel expenses, health insurance and retirement contributions. With that are the massive state mandates placed on every town. What is left to cut is services to the town. So state your idea of cuts. Otherwise, stop whining.
fedspy May 14, 2012 at 03:22 PM
let me throw up now, what a travesty. they call this representative government. lets be clear, almost 70% of the budget is education, which is such a convoluted organization run by the union and state with mandated laws scalping the taxpayers without input into these budgets, and the other 30% is police , fire , and public works. salaries account for almost 90% with benefits, so where do you think cuts, freezes, or eliminate unnecessary expenses should be. one caveat, here, the classroom teacher of relevent subjects, reading , writing and arithmetic, and physical education. they do the work, if you are not a classroom teacher, why do we nee you is my mantra. you have an education bureaucracy out of control. siging contracts with pay increases for 3 years or whatever, rather basing the pay increases on the revenue collected from taxes to pay the increased pay, not increasing taxes to meet the contract requirements. the RTM is useless. i can live with a reasonable 2.5 % budget increase, but anymore must be approved by the voters, like taxpayers do in massachusetts. there needs to be a taxpayer revolt to stop this unbridled tax increases.. yes, i am a senior in waterford, but think others like me think the same. STOP the madness , get involved with a taxpayer revolt, with taxpayers voting on the final budget. contact state rep's for taxpayer representation
Property Owner May 14, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I agree. It is a travesty. I'm sick of the excuses that there is nothing to cut. Time to make the hard decisions.
John Sheehan May 14, 2012 at 07:42 PM
To add a little reallity to the comments above, salaries and benefits are "only" 73 percent of the general government operating budget and 80 percent of the BOE budget. Due to the additon of capital and debt service, salaries and benefits turn out to be 71% of the entire budget. That is still the largest percentage of any single or group of items in the budget. It is also the hardest to cut due to the contractual obligations that may only be changed through negotiations with the various town unions. The latest BOE teacher contract goes into effect on July 1, 2012 and is good for three years. All of the pay increases are 2 percent or less. This was lower than the average of other towns in negotiations at the time of the negotiations (last summer). On the general government side, despite the scheduled pay increases of three percent or better, the personnel costs increased by only $6,544 or 0.05 percent due to the efforts of most department heads to cut back on overtime and other personnel related items not tied to the salary increases. Debt services, insurance (basically health care costs), and fuel oil (gas and diesel) account for most of the increases in the budget. It citizens don't like the actions of the BOF or the RTM, there is a referendum process in the Town Charter. There is no need to contact state representatives regarding a budget referendum.

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