Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Longmeadow Select Board Approves FY11 Budget

“At a special board meeting held on March 22, the Longmeadow Select Board approved a town budget of $51,389,100; a reduction of $385,775 from the current year’s spending level. This budget, which reflects a 4% decrease in state aid and the anticipated reduction of other local receipts, will be put before town residents at the Longmeadow Annual Town Meeting on May 11.” [press release, 3/23/10].

The FY11 budget process which has been followed on the Longmeadow Buzz since November when the Tri-Board (School Committee, Select Board and Finance Committee) met has been very difficult. Many budget cuts have been proposed and then restored by both the School Committee and Select Board after careful analysis and feedback from public forums. During this budget process a Select Board initiative toward creating a more sustainable budget was not very successful and next year’s budget will likely meet similar difficulties.

Below are a few short video clips (courtesy of LCTV) from last night’s special SB meeting which provide an overview of various SB member’s positions on the current budget.

The first video clip is Mark Gold explaining his proposal to balance the budget while maintaining as many important town services as possible. His long hours of work to “drill down” into the budget details with Finance Director Paul Pasterczyk, Town Manager Robin Crosbie and others were key to achieving the balanced budget that was approved at last night’s SB meeting.

The second clip is Rob Aseltine “thanking” Mark Gold for diligent work but stating he could not support the budget as proposed because there were insufficient cuts in town side headcount and services and that it did not meet what he felt was the desired sustainability requirement. Without additional town side cuts, the school dept would be severely impacted with their increasing technology and curriculum needs. In this video clip, Mr. Aseltine also suggested that after the June election when the “new board is constituted”, he will launch an important initiative to reduce the town side cost of doing business.

In the next clip Mark Gold provides some additional thoughts on the FY11 budget.

Robin Crosbie- Town Manager shares her thoughts on the issue of “comparable cuts” in budget items. Rob Aseltine had challenged the TM and the SB many times in the past few months suggested that there were insufficient town side headcount reductions as compared to the School Dept. proposal.

This next short clip is Paul Santaniello summarizing his thoughts on the FY11 budget.

The final video clip is that of SB Chair Bobby Barkett commenting on the FY11 budget and expressing some significant reservations that the desired “restructuring” of town government was not achieved and fearing that the state legislature may impart some mid-fiscal year cuts that could be very difficult for our town finances to absorb.

The final vote on the FY11 budget was 3-2 with Gold, Santaniello and Scibelli in favor and Aseltine and Barkett opposed.