Selectboard begins budget discussion

By Heather McKim

Could an expanded sewer service area be in Shelburne’s future? The town Selectboard explored the idea during the Jan. 8 meeting.

There was a presentation by Larry Michaels, General Manager for O’Brien Brothers, and discussion regarding the issue of expanding the sewer service area and changing zoning for an area of town between Irish Hill Road and Tomas Road.

“This town is going to grow and the sewer district is going to play an important role,” Board member Bob Roesler said.

Town Manager Paul Bohne noted that sewer capacity is not a current concern. He told those gathered that it will not be an issue in the foreseeable future.

The Selectboard decided to send the issue of sewer service expansion on to the Planning Commission.

The Board revisited an issue that has come up at previous meetings, the appeal of a decision by Bohne to deny an application for the installation of street lights in the Longmeadow neighborhood.

After consideration of the issue, the Board members chose to deny the appeal on the grounds that reinstalling the lights does not fit within the current lighting policy. However, the Board will move forward with putting together a new street light policy. So, expect the issue to come before the Board again.

The Board acknowledged receipt of proposed Zoning Bylaw amendments from the Planning Commission and set a date for a hearing on those amendments. Members also approved the road names Harrington Avenue and Henry Street in the Harrington Village housing development. Two residents of the Shelburne-Charlotte area were approved to join the 11-person Dog Park Committee. The Board also voted to amend the Parking Ordinance to add no parking along the entrance or driveway that provides access to the LaPlatte Nature Park Trails and Overlook from Fall Road.

Board members then moved on to an issue of major consideration – the proposed Town General Fund Budget for 2013-14. The Jan. 8 meeting saw two categories within the budget addressed.

First up was police funding. The proposed budget would see funding for the police department increase by 4.7 percent to $1,134,779 from the $1,083,975 of 2012-13.

Chief of Police James Warden explained the expenditures as well as the revenues for the department. He addressed concerns that Board members raised concerning the relationship between Shelburne and its neighboring town of Charlotte.

Shelburne provides policing services to Charlotte. However, the town does receive a fee for some of those services—a fee currently set at $25,000 per year.

The neighboring town of St. George also receives some services from the Shelburne police department. Those however, Warden emphasized, have been minimal.

Warden noted that Shelburne does not lose police officers to Charlotte duties. If officers are working for the town, they are not pulled off their duties and sent to neighboring Charlotte.

The fees paid by Charlotte are just one of the items that provide revenue to the police department. In total, the police department anticipates $414,400 in revenues for 2013-14. Due to the end of the C.O.P.S. Police Officer Grant and decreases in a couple of other revenue sources, the total amount of revenues is down by $19,741 – a total of 4.5 percent.

Next, the Board looked at another major part of the proposed budget. The Highway department accounts for $1,066,255 of the overall proposed budget of $7,348,922.

Due to increased costs of materials, the department’s numbers have gone up by 1.9 percent from the 2012-13 budget.

The grand total expenditures of $7,348,922 would make for a 3 percent increase from the $7,135,508 of the 2012-13 budget. Board members have expressed opposition to that increase.

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