Selectmen discuss fiscal study group
K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
The last such group had met in 2007 and ended the same year. Selectman James F. Kane recommended that the board review the 2007 results and then reconvene in the fall to address both continuing concerns and the annual budget process. Kane said that the last time this was done, it yielded useful information and suggested the latest such study follow the same structure, taking into account the slight increase in revenues from the new meals and hotel taxes.
As before, the board thought it appropriate for two of its members to participate in the study group as well as appointing other members. Selectman Maurice DePalo and Chair Henry J. Fitzgerald volunteered to serve on the group. Town Moderator Christopher G. Mehne would appoint nine additional members.
While the group previous had a total of 30 members, it was suggested that it be increased to 32 because of Precinct 10 having been added to the town. However, Selectman John Lebeaux countered by saying that the group would be more workable if the size were reduced to just 20 members. The discussion then turned to the question of whether town expenses would be reconsidered, as well revenues.
Town Manager Daniel J. Morgado suggested that one topic of study be whether current pension and health plans for town personnel be retained, or if pensions should be replaced with such investment vehicles as 401K accounts and town employees be required to switch to individual health plans.
Fitzgerald then noted that the study group would require advertising to attract citizen volunteers. The discussion ended without a formal vote to continue this topic.
The other major topic of the evening involved a letter received by the board from Sylvia Arduini Warner of 23 Howe Ave. Warner had received a monthly water bill for $119 which she considered incorrect. There was some background discussed regarding a previously leaky toilet that she claimed would have used very little water in any case.
Morgado reviewed her water use which, at 23,000 gallons per month, was described as “very high” for a senior's home. Morgado told the board that Warner's water meter had been replaced, although not tested, and yet her water consumption remained very high. The board then discussed the bill and the consensus was that Warner indeed owed the the sum for which she had been billed. Warner thanked the board for their consideration.
The meeting concluded after several town businesses, Shelly's Café and Deli and the 81 Clinton Pub, were granted operating and liquor licenses, respectively. Several other hearings were postponed until June 11.
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