Hingham: Selectmen hold police and fire budget hearings

The Hingham Board of Selectmen held budget hearings Tuesday night for the 2013 fiscal year. Police Chief Michael Peraino explained to selectmen that his original budget proposal included salary for two additional officers, but reduced the request to only one officer after speaking with the Town Administrator. The police chief proposed a $4.6 million budget which is almost a 4% increase from the previous year.

However he explained that the department is working to shrink overtime costs, “I can tell you from the changes we’ve made already, as of today we’ve saved $27,000 compared to last year. And that’s on top of special town meeting, election, Hurricane Irene, and just a few weeks ago we had the bank robbery.”

Hingham Chief Peraino stated he is reviewing how other communities pay for overtime in order to provide the town with a slim police department budget.

Fire Chief Mark Duff presented a $4.3 million budget proposal to selectmen. Though the proposal is a 1.7% increase over the previous year, Chief Duff explained that he has projected the leanest budget since 1996, leaving little breathing room for the fire department, “I’m at the point where I can’t cut the budget anymore without cutting services.”

The Hingham Fire Chief stated that under direction of the Town Administrator, the department’s emergency management account has been closed. Chief Duff repeated to selectmen that the budget for the department is very tight and that the station roofs may be holding now, but maintenance work will need to be done soon.

About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.