Members of the Board of Finance on Tuesday night discussed the effectiveness of an October memo instructing all departments to present their budget proposals for next fiscal year with no more than a 2 percent budget increase, especially in light of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi last week opened Board of Education budget talks with a request for a 3.5 percent increase. Finance board member Colleen Baldwin said during the group’s regular meeting that while there were discussions before the memo was sent about making the 2 percent a “hard number,” the idea was eventually scrapped “for this very reason.”
Instead, she said that the number was “put out as a starting discussion” with a strong suggestion that the budgets should be presented with “no more than 2 percent.”
But member Thomas Schulte questioned whether the departments are taking the memo seriously enough, considering the financials challenges that the both the town and the state are facing in the coming years and urged the board to bring up these concerns at department meetings. “We tried to do our best to share with them the concerns that we had,” he said at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “I think that the world is very different. It is a more expensive one for people to pay their state and local taxes [in]…and we can’t ignore that, and I think [in terms of] real world budgeting, all of the departments need to be aware of that—whether they’re halfway or all the way through creating their budgets.