Hanson: Selectmen discuss options for fiscal 2012 budget after voters reject Prop 2 ½ overrides

Hanson selectmen met Tuesday night to discuss ways of moving forward with the fiscal 2012 budget, now that voters have rejected one override for the operating budget and another to fix the Indian Head School roof.  

Selectmen only have until a special town meeting on June 13 to come up with an alternative operating budget.

Town administrator Rene Read proposed a budget that he said eliminates the need for layoffs, but uses all of the town’s $215,000 in free cash to achieve it.

However, there’s disagreement between selectmen on whether or not to cut positions or reduce hours by consolidating some town departments, rather than use all the free cash.

Selectmen chair Steve Amico said he doesn’t like the idea of using all of the free cash and suggested looking at some alternatives.

“I think if we don’t start looking at reductions in hours now, there’s going to be a drastic cut next year. It could be a more severe cut next year, than if we don’t do anything this year. I think that’s what we have to look at,” said Amico.

However, Selectman Jim Egan said the board should support the town administrator’s proposal to use all the free cash to balance the budget.

Egan said, “Rene has proposed a budget and in the face of the situation in which we find ourselves, this seems to me to be somewhat reasonable, in order to continue as we currently are. I differ with Rene in that I do believe it’s somewhat irresponsible to use free cash, but I don’t see an option. I don’t think the discussion that we’re engaged in at this point in time, is fruitful.”

Selectmen have scheduled a meeting for next Tuesday night at 7:30 to discuss the issue.

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About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.