By David Fassler, Community Reporter
Hudson – The Board of Selectmen approved fiscal year (FY) 2013 budgets for the town Public Works Department and the Fire Department, for a combined total of nearly $9 million during the board's Jan. 23 meeting.
The public works budget included a 4.1 percent increase from FY 2011, with the majority of the budget, more than $3.3 million, going to water and sewer services. Snow and ice services totaled nearly $327,000 while street and vehicle costs totaled almost $1 million. The parks, cemetery and forestry budget totaled more than $530,000, while administration and central costs were just under $770,000.
The Hudson Fire Department budget was approved at more than $2.8 million.
Hudson Fire Chief John Blood spoke at the meeting.
“The cost of doing business continues to rise,” he said. “Total responses over the years have gone up dramatically, which increases wear and tear on vehicles.”
Upkeep of the vehicles is an issue, as are upkeep of the building and the replacement of emergency medical equipment later this year. One fire engine did not pass inspection.
“What percent of calls are for actual structure fires?” Chair James Vereault asked.
“Working structure fires have been low this year,” Blood said, knocking on the wooden table. “In-town response is fairly quiet, but our response is up 10 percent in one year,” referring to Hudson's Mutual Aid agreement with surrounding municipalities. Blood estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of calls are for emergency medical response.
After Police Chief Richard Braga presented his department head budget proposal, which was $38,000 below the target number, the board voted to table approval of it until a later date. At issue was the continued funding of more than $72,000 for a lieutenant position within the department, a position which has not been filled in the past 18 months. The proposed police budget is more than $3 million.
In other business, the selectmen entertained proposals for the town's sole vacant all-alcohol pouring license. With two proposals received following the late 2011 call for proposals from the board, the selectmen examined a proposal from Rail Trail Flatbread presented by Micael Kosares, who hopes to establish the restaurant at the soon-to-open location straddling 31 and 33 Main Street, near the rotary.
Selectmen Joseph Durant asked whether Kosares could foresee any time where the alcohol permit would be used for something like a pub, to which Kosares repeated his intention of establishing a family-friendly destination.
Following discussion, the board voted unanimously to move to the next step for processing the all-alcohol pouring license for Rail Trail Flatbread.