Editor's note: The Legislative Council is scheduled to vote on the 2012-13 budget Wednesday night.
To the Editor:
At [Monday night's] budget meeting the Council cleaned up some tabled issues.
Most significant were pension funding, the Emergency and Contingency (E&C)
fund, early retirement incentives and discretionary cuts.
The administration’s Early Retirement Incentive plan was approved.
It is expected to move 16-20 employees to retirement and eliminate about
half the positions. It will, or course, add to the retirement plan burden
for a few years. As usual short-term savings are traded for long-term costs.
After a long discussion, the Council voted to approve the Mayor’s requested
$10 Million contribution to the various retirement funds and a previously
un-proposed increase to E&C of $200,000. That increase alone will add
roughly .05 points to the mil rate.
The Council discussed and approved about $50,000 in reductions to various
town accounts. A proposal to make a $100,000 cut to the Board of Education
for similar discretionary spending was opposed strongly by some members and
narrowly defeated. The Council’s failure to hold the Board accountable at
all is very disappointing.
Including medical coverage, the schools consume over $100 million a year.
Some Council members seem to think school spending is sacred. Don’t they
realize that we spend around $17,000 per student and the district is rated
130th of the 165 districts in the state?
We have more professional staff than most (only about 10 students per teacher/administrator) and give everyone great pay and benefits. The budget for paper alone could easily be cut by $100,000.
Shame on the Council for failing to make a small symbolic cut to the Board.