Two 2012-2013 budget requests, our Capital Improvement Budget and Operating Budget, are passing through the town bodies this month and next. The review process is lengthy and ever-changing. Here’s where we stand right now. If you plan to attend a particular meeting, you may want to double-check with the appropriate body (or on the town’s website) for updates.
March 19 Tonight Three RTM Subcommittees will hear our Capital Improvement Project Requests. The Town’s requests are also on the agenda. The subcommittees will all meet together at Sullivan Independence Hall on the first floor. The meeting begins at 7:30 pm but school projects are not scheduled to be heard until 8:30 pm. This room is small. If all 30 members show up this room gets very crowded very fast.
March 20 Tuesday The Board of Finance/Board of Selectman have a budget meeting. They will hear from their consultants on health insurance and pension costs. These are important components of the town’s and board of education’s budget, so I’ll be there along with our Finance Director. Full disclosure — this sounds like an evening where, if you don’t like numbers, stay home. This is at 7:00 pm at the BOE offices on Kings Highway East.
March 21 Wednesday Two other subcommittees of the RTM hear our Capital Improvement Projects requests. The time/place is the same as tonight. The good news is that 20 RTM members will be in the same room, instead of the 30 we’ll have there tonight.
March 24 Saturday The Board of Finance/Selectmen meet at the Senior Center at 9:30 am solely for the purpose of public comment on the budgets. Staff are generally not there.
March 26 Monday At 2:00 pm, the Board of Selectmen is scheduled to vote on the town and board of education operating budgets. This is in Sullivan Independence Hall. Doubleheader alert: at 8:00 pm, the RTM, at the BOE conference room, is scheduled to vote on the town and BOE Capital Improvement budgets. The agenda for this meeting is already posted and this is the major item on it.
March 29 Thursday At 7:00 pm, the Board of Finance votes on the operating budgets for both town and board of education. This is a big night. Once the Board of Finance sets the budget, it is virtually impossible for the RTM to restore any cut, even if it wants to. The Board of Finance does have the authority to restore a cut recommended by the Board of Selectmen.
OK, that’s it for March. The Capital Improvement Projects are probably done. The Osborn Hill window replacement project is undergoing further study, particularly in the area of hazardous material abatement. When we have a firm number on that cost, the town bodies are open to reconsidering the project. On to April.
April 9 Monday at McKinley School at 7:00 pm, all RTM members are invited to hear the Board of Education budget. This is a new process this year and is supposed to replace the committee review process that often went well past midnight. The leadership of the RTM is hoping that RTM members will get their questions answered at this session so that the committee meetings can be devoted to a discussion of the budget.
April 23 and April 25 RTM committees will meet on our budget at Sullivan Independence Hall. Typically these start at 7:30 pm but we are unsure of what the schedule/agenda will be for these meetings because of the new process. At this point, just set aside the time, date and place.
April 30 Monday RTM meeting on the budget (full RTM). At this meeting the RTM members who are going to propose cuts to the budget are required to bring them forward. No vote is taken that evening. RTM has been holding its full meetings at the Board of Education offices lately rather than at a school. The site has not been listed yet for this meeting (check the agenda when it comes out) but likely it will be at 501 Kings Highway East. Same goes for Monday May 7.
That’s it for April. The RTM timeline is completely different in April than one you may have seen earlier. What I have described here is the latest one.
May 7 Monday RTM (full body) final vote on the budget. Probably at the BOE offices.
That’s it. Hope to see you there.