TOWNSEND -- Asked to scour their budgets for any cuts that can be made, the only place the Board of Health was able to identify as a possibility for this fiscal year is the trash pick-up program.
Townsend must come up with $341,159 to cover its share of the budget increase for North Middlesex Regional School District. The other two towns, Ashby and Pepperell, voted for an override but Townsend did not.
The Board of Selectmen is not open to holding another override vote, Town Administrator Andy Sheehan said, "The voters have spoken."
That leaves reducing expenses and raising revenue to cover the shortfall. Each town department was asked to submit a budget with cuts to Sheehan by today.
The landfill budget was already cut and the board cannot change expenses from the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health. Contracts with the North Central Regional Solid Waste Cooperative and the Devens Regional Household Hazardous Waste Products Collection Center are also locked in, said Health Administrator Carla Walter.
"There really isn't any fluff, so that leaves trash," she said.
She expected Glenn Shaw from G. W. Shaw and Son, the trash hauler for the town, to attend the Sept. 10 meeting, but he was not present.
"I don't have any information from Shaw's. They don't have anything formal for us at this time," Walter said.
"Glenn is looking at some ways the contract or program could be restructured," Sheehan said. The contract runs through 2014 and
"I came in the hopes that Glenn would be here tonight and there could be a more concrete dialog," he said.
Without input from Shaw's Sheehan does not know what, if anything, can be trimmed from the trash contract.
"Whatever we can get. The answer might be zero. If Shaw's is able to do something and save us $25,000, we'd take it," Sheehan said.
"Are you asking us to eliminate trash pick-up?" said Board of Health Chairman Chris Genoter.
"No. That has never been broached. The Board of Selectmen never stated that," Sheehan said.
A number of people have suggested looking at the trash contract for savings, he said, "it's a fairly big cost for us." Other options for reducing expenses include closing town hall a day or two a week or closing the library and senior center, Sheehan said.
The trash hauling contract was already reduced $25,000 last year which is sort of a savings, Finance Committee Chairman Andrea Wood told the Board of Health.
Townsend's portion of the school budget increase is $417,728. Taking into account state aid figures provided by Sheehan, the town is left with a deficit of $341,159, according to figures provided in a memorandum to department heads, boards and commissions by Sheehan.
Raising that much money could mean town employees would lose hours or even positions, Genoter said, so the committee should talk with Shaw's to look for any savings it can.
"I think we owe that to the people who work for the town," he said.
The committee scheduled another meeting for Sept. 13 to meet with a representative from Shaw's.