The Recorder – Montague Selectboard, finance committee begins shaping FY23 budget

MONTAGUE — The Selection Committee and the Finance Committee have been discussing budget requests for fiscal year 2023 from City Services for the past two weeks, generally supporting the proposed changes.

The 2023 fiscal year begins July 1. The draft general operating budget implies an increase of approximately 4.8%.

According to Finance Committee Chair Jen Audley, by the spring, the Finance Committee will hear recommendations from the Capital Improvements Committee on capital spending requests, attempt to agree on a single budget proposal to present to the Annual Municipal Meeting, discuss contributions and uses of the reserve fund, and recommend items that will appear on the Municipal Assembly’s Terms of Reference. The recommendations of the finance committee are presented to the selection committee for approval before being presented to the electors of the municipal assembly.

town clerk

City Clerk Deb Bourbeau requested an increase of $36,980 (23.83%) from $155,173 for fiscal year 2022 to $192,153 for fiscal year 2023. Bourbeau described in her budget narrative “a huge problem” where his office has “officially run out of space,” compounded by 2023 being an election year that includes a gubernatorial race. She framed her request as a way to acquire additional postage and office supplies needed for the “vote-by-mail” processes, pay for ballot coding and layout, purchase a fireproof filing cabinet to store vital records, binder and ArchiveSocial software to back up city social media accounts.

“My office exceeded its capacity years ago. I was recently asked to remove items from the nurse’s office that we used to share,” Bourbeau wrote in the story. “I am currently using the conference room across from my office to store my election materials and will now have to store filing cabinets there as I cannot fit one more in my office.”


Turners Falls Municipal Airport Manager Bryan Camden requested an increase of $110,623 (53.66%) from $206,164 in fiscal year 2022 to $316,787 in fiscal year 2023. Camden said that this “rather hefty budget” takes into account the necessary increases in salaries, expenses, debt service and social benefits. . Additional personnel-related increases include $3,281 for the full-time airport manager and an increase in hours for the operations manager from 19 to 30 hours per week, which would create a beneficial position.

“We see the need for office staff is higher than it has been in the past,” Camden noted at a Jan. 18 Selectboard meeting.

Parks and recreation

Parks and Recreation Director Jon Dobosz requested an increase of $2,137 (1.44%) from $147,944 for fiscal year 2022 to $150,081 for fiscal year 2023. The budget request reflects the addition of a dedicated parks gardener who would work from mid-June to mid or late August, five days a week, or 37.5 to 40 hours, at $14.25 per hour.

“While grounds maintenance duties have traditionally come under the auspices of the Department of Public Works, we have noticed a significantly less presence from the DPW due to other duties and demands they have received over the past two years. “, wrote Dobosz in his story. “Unity Park is an almost daily obligation, and with further renovations to other parks, we need a gardener specifically dedicated to the Parks and Recreation Department.”

Water Pollution Control Facility

Water Pollution Control Facility Superintendent Chelsey Little requested an increase of $252,979 (9.97 per cent) from more than $2.5 million in the fiscal year 2022 to nearly $2.8 million in fiscal 2023. The increase represents the creation of a new lab director position, with a salary of approximately $59,000. The position, according to Little, is “considered essential to the skill set and consistency needed in the lab to maintain permit compliance.”

The proposal also takes into account an increase in mudcake transportation costs, with the last mudcake transportation contract expiring on December 31, 2021. The city has only received two bids for new mudcake transportation services. cake, which puts it in a position where it might need to pay $214 per wet ton, instead of the $95 per wet ton it was previously paying.

“As procurement and allocation have not been formalized at this time, it seems appropriate to budget for the worst case scenario,” Little wrote in his story. “The facility is working on ways to reduce the high cost of sludge disposal, to include a composting feasibility study and the implementation of its new screw press, which is expected to produce a higher percentage solid cake, which in turn removes more solids at a lower cost. »

Police Service/Dispatch

Police Chief Christopher Williams has requested an increase of $53,012 (3.01%), which would bring the fiscal year 2023 budget to more than $1.8 million. The increase takes into account the promotion of a new sergeant and the hiring of a new patrol officer to replace the promoted officer.

“In my 29 years at Montague PD, we have lost three positions,” Williams wrote in her account. “I think there is a need for an additional sergeant and two patrolmen who would serve to reinforce the detective office, directly supervise the day shift and bring back community policing.”

For the apportionment, Williams requested an increase of $62,610 (20.18%) from $310,291 in fiscal year 2022 to $372,901 in fiscal year 2023. While he advocated at the Originally a fifth dispatcher who would also fill some administrative roles, Williams amended his request following the Selectboard’s reluctance to approve. His subsequent request, presented a week later at the January 25 Selectboard meeting, simply involved a standard dispatcher.

advice on aging

Council on Aging Director Roberta Potter requested an increase of $8,819 (18.96%) from $46,521 in fiscal year 2022 to $55,340 in fiscal year 2023. The increase, said Potter, stems from a need for overtime in his position.

“Since I’ve been in this position for about 13 years, the work has consistently exceeded the time allotted,” she explained, offering to increase her hours from 17 to 21 a week.

Selection table

City Administrator Steve Ellis requested an increase of $118,781 (61%) from $194,729 for fiscal year 2022 to $313,510 for fiscal year 2023. This represents the creation of an assistant city administrator at full-time and office assistant positions of 20 hours per week.

The proposal to create an assistant city administrator position was framed as a matter of overloading both the Selectboard and Ellis himself. He said there were several “executive-level tasks that cut across departments” and an assistant would help shoulder the load. Specific tasks covered included community and economic development, capital and infrastructure planning, facilities planning and management, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance coordination, construction procurement, grant and contract management, corporate marketing and outreach, and committee support.

“The goal is not to allow me to do less work,” Ellis previously said. “The goal is to allow us to get more work done and to do it at a higher level that allows us to take on more opportunities…whether it’s grant opportunities, etc.”

Board of health

The Selection Committee agreed to advance all proposals except the one from the Board of Health.

Chief Health Officer Daniel Wasiuk requested an increase of $34,551 (21.55%) from $160,324 for fiscal year 2022 to $194,875 for fiscal year 2023. The increase takes into account a proposed increase in staff hours for the clerk and nurse, equipment, an inspection vehicle and office supplies.

The nurse’s proposed increase in hours and pay was an increase from $56 to $58 per hour and seven hours overtime per week, making it a 19-hour-per-week position. The nurse’s increased hours, said board of health member Melanie Ames Zamojski, is driven by things other than just COVID-19-related duties, including working at the senior center, with homebound seniors and members of the city’s at-risk population.

The selection committee opted to postpone decision-making on personnel changes and the addition of the vehicle, citing insufficient justification as to how the nurse’s current role goes beyond the job description.

“I’m just not in favor of such a big change,” selection committee chairman Rich Kuklewicz said at the Jan. 18 meeting.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or [email protected]