Waterford finance board chips away at commission budgets

Waterford - The Board of Finance emphasized frugality at Monday's budget hearing, making reductions to the budgets of the Economic Development Commission, the Conservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The board made the largest deduction to the Planning and Zoning budget. The board approved $546,135 in appropriations, more than $10,000 below the department's requested budget of $557,608.

Roughly half of the reduction came out of a line item for office equipment. The commission's proposed budget had slated roughly $5,000 to purchase new furniture including chairs, workstations and file cabinets.

Planning Director Dennis Goderre said the office's current furnishings were uncomfortable and created an "unfriendly environment."

"I think the taxpayer wants to see a frugal department," countered board member John "Bill" Sheehan.

Office equipment appropriations were ultimately approved at $10,844, while the department had requested $15,844.

Economic Development saw its budget drop by about $400, to $9,132. Requested appropriations for the Conservation Commission were cut from $19,750 to $18,250.

In hearings for both budgets, board member Cheryl Larder pushed to reduce appropriations for expenditures that in the past have been minimal for the commissions.

She commented that Economic Development traditionally has spent less than $400 on advertising, though it requested $1,100 for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

She noted that the Conservation Commission has spent nothing on professional services in the past few years. The commission requested $5,000 for 2014-15.

The rest of the eight relatively small budgets on Monday's agenda were approved as requested. The board will make its final budget recommendations at a March 24 meeting. The Representative Town Meeting will hold hearings later this spring to finalize budgets.



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