By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
The last such group had met in 2007 and ended the same year. At a meeting held during May, the board had decided to again create a fiscal study group to seek new avenues of revenue while still possibly cutting expenses. At that meeting, Selectman James Kane had recommended that the board review the 2007 results and then reconvene to address both continuing concerns and the annual budget process. He said that the last time this was done it yielded useful information and thus he suggested the latest such study follow the same structure, taking into account the slight increase in the town's revenues. As had been the case in 2007, the board thought it appropriate for two of its members to participate in the study group as well as appointing some other members. Chairman Henry Fitzgerald and Selectman Maurice DePalo both volunteered to serve on the group. Nine people would be appointed by Town Moderator Christopher Mehne.
While the group last time had a total of 30 members, it was suggested at the May meeting that the group size be raised to 32 to cover the town's growth. Town Manager Daniel Morgado had suggested that one topic of study be whether current pension and health plans for town personnel be retained, or pensions replaced with such investment vehicles as 401K accounts and town employees be switched to individual health plans.
At the July 23 meeting, Fitzgerald noted that the group had met two times since May and had in those meetings organized itself and had decided to use the 2007 study as their embarkation point for the 2013 study. Fitzgerald said that the 2013 goals would include updating the 2007 study and quantifying opportunities and determining associated costs. The board members noted they hoped the report would be finished by this October but that date could possibly slip. They agreed that the study was worth the effort even if its conclusions could most likely apply only to the more foreseeable expenses such as police manning. However, no vote on the matter was taken.
The board also noted its sadness at the passing of Richard Perron, a 36-year employee of the Shrewsbury Veterans” Service System. Perron – recently retired – had served aboard USS Jeffers, a Gleaves-class destroyer and mine-sweeper and on the Japanese island of Okinawa during World War II. He returned to Navy duty during the Korean War and upon returning home was employed by Stone and Webster Engineering, based in Stoughton. Upon the start of the war in Iraq, Perron became the Veterans” Agent for Shrewsbury. He also served in that capacity in his hometown of Northborough and in Grafton.