TOWNSEND -- After examining a schedule of proposed budget cuts with the town administrator, the Finance Committee quickly and unanimously recommended two articles for the upcoming Town Meeting.
"I gave you the wording for the two motions, the two budget articles. It's still a draft, but not likely to change," said Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan.
Neither article cuts town employee wages.
Only one article will need to be voted on at the Special Town Meeting scheduled Wednesday, Nov. 14.
If an override of $199,000 for the North Middlesex Regional School District is approved at the town election on Nov. 13, Town Meeting will vote on article 15.
In this scenario, $109,118 will be raised from available funds. Another $109,610 will need to be cut from the municipal budget.
The money will come from an increase in local aid and receipts and an offset of ambulance receipts, cutting the as-yet-unfilled position of Communications Center Supervisor to six months and reductions in energy costs in municipal buildings, Sheehan said.
If the override does not pass at the election, the town will vote on Article 16. The article includes $271,117 in cuts to the municipal budget.
In addition to the revenues and budget cuts proposed for article 15, personnel services would be impacted.
The Fire/EMS Department personnel services line would be cut by $54,000.
Chief Don Klein "did some analysis and he said he was comfortable with that,"
"Oh, I hate changing it," member Carolyn Smart said, "he'll have to use more of his ambulance receipts."
The Highway Department personnel services line would see a $45,000 cut.
"I hate doing this but Kim (Fales, the town accountant) says it's okay," said Chairwoman Andrea Wood.
The police personnel services line would be cut $20,000. The Finance Committee did not comment on the amount.
Cuts to the assessors and the collector are for hours that are not usually used, Sheehan said, and would not impact town employees' salaries.
Cuts to the Conservation Commission line would be covered by wetland-related receipts. Cuts to the meals coordinator line at the Council on Aging would be covered by a grant, Sheehan said.
Other cuts include legal, management information systems, street listing, land use and library expenses.
With the proposed cuts, $22,263 would still need to be taken out of free cash, Sheehan said.
"In a way, we're just pushing our problem off. This doesn't solve our problem," he said of the proposed cuts.
"If the override doesn't pass, we're buying ourselves six months to find the solutions," Sheehan said.
The committee voted again on Article 2, a proposal to form a separate water district. A vote at the last meeting was tied.
The committee recommended the article by a simple majority. Smart recused herself, since she works at the Water Department.
Nancy Rapoza again voted against the article, saying her reason was the same as it was at the previous meeting. She said there is no compelling reason to grant the request and she does not see how it would benefit the town.
The committee unanimously recommended an article allowing the Conservation Commission to purchase land.
"The money is coming from their account, not free cash," Smart said.