Thursday, February 12, 2009

Town reveals first budget try

HARWINTON — The three selectmen reviewed various preliminary budgetary expenses for the next fiscal year at a Board of Selectman meeting Wednesday night.
First Selectman Frank Chiaramonte, who recently agreed to cut his existing pay by 7 percent to $58,000 a year, said he is determined to be especially thrifty because of the national economic recession.
Selectman Sandra Davis suggested the town allocate enough money into a budget in order to hold four public town meetings in 2009-10. Selectman Andrew Kasznay Jr. agreed with Davis’s recommendation.
“Someone is going to petition for something, forcing another town meeting,” Kasznay said.
Chiaramonte said certain town boards are spending too much time writing minutes of meetings. In one instance, the recorder of a land use meeting wrote 12 pages of notes, he said. This is overkill, because it requires far too much time, he said.
“We are not going to be taking copious minutes anymore,” Chiaramonte said.
Kasznay questioned who controls the Water Pollution Control Authority, which meets six times per year. He suggested the town would benefit from transferring a bunch of documents from paper copies to a digital system.
Davis suggested the town institute a merit-based monetary reward to employees who do exceptional work.
“I am happy to make the pitch (to the Board of Finance),” Davis said. “This is an accolade for a job well done.”
Kasznay opposed, because he thinks the Board of Finance will reject this proposal.
The Board of Selectmen reviewed about 26 proposed expenses, including $106,090 in administrative costs, up 3 percent from the year before; $7,000 in labor and regulation costs, up 40 percent from the year before; $6,400 for the Zoning Commission, down 39 percent from the year before. Proposed expenses for the Harwinton Public Library, the Recreation Commission, the town historian, the Conservation Commission, election expenses and the senior center remain the same as for the 2008-09 budget. The 26 proposed expenses total $804,779.
The selectman are waiting to get another 27 proposed expenses. The town of Harwinton is operating on a budget of $1,904,076 this year.


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