Select Board calls cuts to wages ‘irresponsible’

  • Tim Johnson sits on the New Ipswich Board of Selectmen. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) —STAFF PHOTO BY BRANDON LATHAM

  • Becky Doyle is the chair of the New Ipswich Board of Selectmen. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) —STAFF PHOTO BY BRANDON LATHAM

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/11/2017 6:25:43 PM

The New Ipswich Board of Selectmen met to discuss the proposed budget and other warrant articles, ultimately calling the budget committee’s proposal “irresponsible.”

The committee cut the selectmen’s recommended budget by $19,101, and the proposal is $60,101 less than the operating budget for 2016.

“If the voters take a look at their measures, then they’ll be careful who they vote into the budget committee,” said Becky Doyle, chair of the Select Board. “I think it’s reckless to cut wages.”

The purpose of a separate budget committee is to have an extra level of review.

The budget recommended by the Board of Selectmen was $2,432,000. After the budget committee reviewed it, it proposed a $2,412,899 budget.

“In addition to general government building maintenance, treasury training and cemetery mowing, every cut was in the salary line for people we already have in positions and have been established,” Doyle said. “It seems like the budget committee is trying to make a point here and I’m not sure why the budget committee is so interested in cutting people’s wages. Apparently they thought the cuts to line items weren’t enough and attacked salaries.”

The proposed budget can change at deliberative session on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Selectman David Lage, who sat in on budget committee discussions, said it ignored human error found in department head budget requests to keep the total low at the cost of things Lage and the selectmen think they need.

Doyle pointed out complaints about the appearance of cemeteries last year when noting that the landscaping budget was shrinking. There also would not be funding for treasury department training.

“I tried to explain that we have a new deputy treasurer who should be trained but it fell on deaf ears,” Lage said.

If it fails in the vote, the town would run on the default budget, which is calculated based on predictable changes and the last passed budget, which would be higher even than the selectmen recommended. They agreed to support the default budget even though it is higher because the proposed budget may not be enough to properly operate the town.

The budget will be article 5, among nearly 30, on the town ballot.

One such article, number 21, was presented by Selectman Tim Johnson. It would combine the positions of tax collector and town clerk, creating one large department. The new position would be elected beginning in 2018.

“I have spoken with the current tax collector and town clerk and she agreed with the idea,” he said.

New Ipswich is seeking a new health officer. The position comes with a yearly stipend of $2,500.

USA Properties will make a proposal on Stowell Road on Jan. 24. The board will discuss its capital improvement plan on Jan. 31. The deliberative session, when residents can provide input on ballot items like the town budget, is going to be Feb. 7.


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