Selectboard approves FY12 budget, use of tasers

by Town Reminder

Selectboard approves FY12 budget, use of tasers

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer,

SOUTH HADLEY -Last Thursday’s Selectboard meeting saw the approval of two major items which previously drew much debate.
A Fiscal Year 2012 operating budget of $39,413,134 for the town was approved, which was $306,905 less than last year’s operating budget. Town Administrator Paul Beecher asked department heads to level fund their budgets for FY12, which essentially required them to mimic the previous year’s budgets. Those who could were asked to provide budgets with a five percent reduction. Because many departments are so small, just the police department and the Department of Public Works [DPW] were able provide such a reduction in their budgets. South Hadley officials are still waiting to receive final numbers from the state of Massachusetts to completely finalize their budget.
As of April 7, the school department will receive the largest budget, totaling $19, 252, 563. The public safety budget consists of $2,482,700, the general government budget is $1, 617,090 and the DPW budget is 3,292,940. The Council on Aging will receive $316,518 and $215, 300 will be appropriated for veterans benefits. One thousand dollars will be put toward Canal Park, $5,000 for the Conservation Land Fund and the snow and ice budget will receive $100, 005. The Ledges Golf Course Enterprise Fund will receive $891, 053. With various cherry sheet offsets and charges and school choice tuition, the total FY12 budget will be $41, 953, 267.
During the meeting, the Selectboard took action regarding the long-term discussion of the use of tasers. Last year, the South Hadley Police Department was gifted funds by officials from The Village Commons to purchase four tasers. A forum was held for residents to voice their concerns or support of the use of tasers by police in town. Unanimously, the Selectboard approved the implementation of tasers at the police department.
The Selectboard also approved all items on a report presented by the Capital Panning Committee. In the report are requests from various departments for capital funding for projects to be completed in FY12. They were ranked by four categories: strongly recommend, recommend, appropriate to fund if money is available and finally, defer project for this year. Ranked and approved were 10 projects. They are a purchase of two new patrol cruisers, costing $56,000, for the police department, a $150,000 reparation of a concrete aerator tank for the DPW, funds totaling $50,000 to “repair and reconfigure” underground piping to begin the process of abandoning the Old Sycamore Knolls Pump Station, the $20,000 replacement of a roller/compactor for the DPW, the replacement of floor tiles containing asbestos at the Mosier School, costing $120,000, as well as replacement of tiles at the high school, which would cost $25,000, the $40,000 replacement of a freezer/cooler at Mosier School, the purchase of a computerized point of sale system to be used for meal programs at all four schools costing $25,000, the replacement of toilet partitions at both the Mosier and Michael E. Smith Middle School, costing $23,000 and finally the purchase of shelving and storage components for the Town Clerk/Treasurer’s office.
Additionally, the Selectboard officially reconfigured itself following the town election. Robert Judge was named Selectboard Chair, Frank DeToma was named Vice Chair, Bruce MacCullagh was named Clerk and John Hine and Marilyn Ishler were named members.