Saturday, January 26, 2013

Session to vet budget, warrant articles approaching

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff

WINCHESTER — Voters will have a chance next week to slice, dice or add to a 2013-14 town budget that is up 11 percent from the current year.
Town officials will present a $3.42 million operating budget at the deliberative session on Saturday, Feb. 2. The budget, which selectmen recommended unanimously and the budget committee supported, 5-2, is up $346,074 from this fiscal year's budget of $3.07 million.
Selectmen Chairwoman Roberta A. Fraser said Friday the big increases in the budget are employee health insurance and retirement costs.
"We've kept it low as much as we can, but everything is going up," she said.
Health insurance has increased by $97,726, from $254,799 to $352,525, and retirement costs for town employees have increased by $14,563, from $40,617 to $55,180. The town's share of retirement costs for police department employees, which is a separate budget line item from other town employees, has gone up by $19,576, from $59,800 to $79,376.
Fuel costs are also a contributing factor, especially in the highway department, where the amount allocated for diesel fuel increased by $13,000, from $30,000 to $43,000.
Other town offices with proposed increases include the fire department, landfill, the police department, property records and welfare, which would see their budgets jump anywhere from $7,304 to $44,090. The town's legal budget is slated to increase by $41,736, from $25,000 to $66,736.
In addition to the budget, voters at the deliberative session will review the 31 warrant articles on the March town meeting ballot.
One of those articles seeks to establish an ordinance making it illegal for animals to run at large on properties that don't belong to their owners. The selectmen have unanimously backed the ordinance.
Fraser said the ordinance is similar to the one in place for dogs found to be running at large, but that regulation can't be applied to livestock.
"There have been issues with livestock getting out quite often," she said.
According to the ordinance, an animal is defined as domestic or wild, and includes, but isn't limited to: cattle, bovines, swine, sheep, goats, domesticated strains of buffalo and bison, llamas, alpacas, emus, ostriches, yaks, elk, fallow deer, red deer, reindeer and equines.
If the ordinance passes, residents who have animals that escape their care could be fined $50 each time the animals get loose. The owners would also be responsible for expenses incurred by the Winchester animal shelter for caring for the animals.
Other warrant articles on the ballot include:
  • $1.48 million for the third phase of upgrades to the Winchester wastewater treatment plant, and creating a plan for inspecting the town's sewer collection system.
  • Establishing a committee of seven residents to study the effects of consolidating the Thayer and Conant public libraries.
  • Changing the number of members-at-large on the budget committee from eight to five.  
The deliberative session will start on Sat., Feb. 2, at 9 a.m. at Winchester Town Hall.


what a crock said...

Hey Roberta, where's the cuts? Not one useless town employee has had his/her hours cut. They also got raises and bonuses and yet this tard tells us "they have done everything they can" BS!!!! Let these people pay their own health insurance like the rest of us and get a 401k for their retirement, why in hell should we keep footing the bills when it's obvious this town has become a joke with the way it's citizens keep getting fleeced. I say enough, GET RID OF THEM ALL.

Anonymous said...

If they do not like it, do not let the door hit them in the glustius maximus on the way out!

Anonymous said...

Got to protect the employees who get to work whenever and come and go as they please.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I need to get out of education and go to work for the town! Our health costs are up 20% and guess what we get to foot the bill plus we are in negotiations and the raises are looking to be 1%. What ever happened to telling these people no? We just can't afford it. Oh, Roberta buy a house so you can share in the expenses.

Anonymous said...

An 11% increase can be a death blow to many of the fixed income seniors, not just in Winchester but any town. I would like to know if not telling us about phase3 at the sewer plant was an oversight or intentional. Why would we want to cut back on the amount of people on the budget, easier to control, maybe?

TAXIE said...

$13,000 Increase in Diesel Fuel for hwy. I bet it doesn't have anything to due with the price of Fuel.

what the hell said...

According to the selectmen, none of the sewer plant repairs were to come from taxation, period. That was what the original warrant stated when we voted on it, it was all to come from user fees. Now they are trying to slip this shyt by us to cover their arses for more things not included in the original contract or estimate. This smacks of a good case of misrepresentation and fraud.

Anonymous said...

Every year Dale asks for more and more fuel money to cover what they all take to heat their homes on us.

seen the dole said...

Besides the 11% already earmarked just how much are all of these other warrants going to cost us? The way things have been going with this bunch, not only is the town coffers empty, they are going to drive many of us out of town with all of this foolish spending. They must think Winchester is a booming metropolis and everyone here is rich beyond their means. Why don't they go after all the tax scofflaws, many of which are town employees and make them and these so called businesses we have here pay up?

Bob Davis said...

What was left out of that news article was Sharra's ego trip the "bridge to nowhere"!The only one that will be using it is Mike Martin, most welfare recipient have cars and drive to Kulick's, Sharra gets her property improvements Butch Plifka gets the woods cleaned up behind his store and then property owners all over town will pay the cost of Sharra's folly.

The sewage phase III was never mentioned either, this cost should be levied on the sewage users only. The selectmen were not honest and up front with the property owners about the real cost of the improvements of the plant (as if they ever were) Their thinking is that we the property owners are too stupid to realize what they are doing and wouldn’t digest the cost in one lump sum, so the selectmen fed us all a little at a time in phases so we wouldn’t choke.
The Selectmen are using us as chumps by keeping the sewage rates very low to please their voter base and keep them happy because most of the 700 or so voters that show up to vote come from around the village that are sewer users . The Selectmen knew at some point the state would force the upgrade and now the Selectmen are trying to spread the cost all over town to the property owners. Unlike spreading the wealth around in Washington, we in Winchester spread the cost around!

How does the pile of $hit fed to you over the years taste? These selectmen think we are all too stupid and shouldn’t know the truth .

The property owners allow about 21% of the registered voters in town to dictate the flexible property tax increases you will be burdened with on your property this year again. See the state tax rates are fixed and only can be raised by a legislation battle between the house and senate. Yet here in town, the property owners allow as little as 21% of the registered voters to increase our taxes. How would it be if only 21% of the house and senate showed up to raise all the other taxes we have? It should take at least 51% of the register votes to vote to raise any taxes. Yet people like Sharra can place warrant articles with the help of her cronies at the town hall, on the ballot for a “stupid bridge to nowhere” and we allow about 21% of the registered votes to pass the costs along onto the other 79 %, because many voters in this town are too lazy to go to the poles and help put a stop to nonsense like this.

We went to war over "no taxation without representation'!

Anonymous said...

Selectmen in Winchester have put homeowners who use the sewer system in tight position and it make me angry. Yes I am connected to the system. Do I want the plant operating at the state level? OF course. Do I want to support the shotty payment plan this town put together to pay for the repairs? Heck no.

My employeer has NEVER absorbed increases the fees for health insurance or retirement costs.
Please explain, while we are in a recession, why the situation should be different in Winchester?

How does a fuel bill go up by that much?

This frusterated taxpayer will be in attendance on Saturday.

Kevin on Swan Street

Anonymous said...

My familys portion for our insurance is $600 a month for a family of 4.
What are our town employees and teachers contributing?

also is there anyway to track how mutch of our car resistration fees are going to the road crew? if any? where does this money go?
I always assumed it was for our roads etc.

Anonymous said...

There is not mention in about the $700,000 that the selectmen did not return to the tax payers left over from last years budget. The school is required to return anything back but the Town can keep what ever it wants.... I hope that subject fires everyone up to vote this year.

Bob Davis said...

REF: my families portion:

Read from my prior posting how town property taxes are unfairly computed.

Taxation According to Local Government Rules:

To support the needs of our local government and to support the schools the revenue for these expenditures are levied on the property owners. This tax rate is determined by gathering revenue from other sources (vehicle tax, timber tax, permits, state revenue sharing, etc) of this the total is subtracted from the requested revenue town and school needs. The difference that remains is levied on the property owners. This means each year as the revenue request increase the property tax is leveled against the property owners which is at a flexible rate depending on needs. A tax increase on your property you worked to hard to pay for can be increased by a small minority of voters that take the time to vote. You could be tax out of your home by allowing as little as 750 our of 3330 registered voters to dictate what you will pay. This is a unfair way of taxation with out representation.

Anonymous said...

If everything passes as presented, it looks to me like the average home will have around a $1200. increase in there tax bill.And by the way, my out of pocket insurance cost for two, is around $800 a month.

Anonymous said...

I do not know enough about the deliberative procedure. That being said, is there anyone on this blog that could submit a warrant to FREEZE THE TOWN BUDGET, ALL DEPARTMENTS AND INTERESTS for our upcoming deliberative or election?

Anonymous said...

When is Brian Moser's VFW review? Date time etc. Thanks

ARSE WIPES said...

If we vote to cut back on the budget committee, all we will have for next year is the ARSE WIPES that run the show now. If we stay with the current number we may have a chance to vote for some one with a conscience.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were unable to attend the Deliberative Session yesterday morning as we both have a bout of the flu, but are very interested in what happened and the results. Can the Informer or anyone who attended please enlighten us and anyone else who did not attend.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, as usual nothing happened, because NO ONE was there, but town employees, there friends and family. The people that weren't there are in for a BIG surprise next December if everything passes.

Frustrated said...

Speaking of health/medical insurance costs: I am a senior, longtime resident of this town, now on a very fixed income. I pay $335.40 a month for medical insurance and NO medication coverage. That is out of pocket. This is for one person. What do our town employees contribute to their own and family coverage? We know what other daily/monthly expenses are on top of that. Oil,gas, etc.

BE THERE said...

Brian's explain the budget, Monday, March 4th, at 7PM, up stairs at the VFW.