By Anne O'Connor
SHIRLEY -- Town Meeting worked its way through the general government section of the budget, approving $1.3 million for the section. Several motions to amend individual lines required a vote count.
The meeting will resume on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
Last year's budget saw changes.
Voters amended the fiscal year 2017 budget to cover increased expenses.. The action required a majority vote.
Some of the funds come from reserve fund. The Finance Committee has the authority to take money from the account but since Town Meeting is in session, the reserve fund transfers are in the motions, said Finance Committee Chairman Brian Sawyer.
Residents asked about the need for the increased expenses.
The legal expenses line was increased from $42,000 to $92,000 because town counsel was used for numerous hearings and litigation, according to the warrant information..
The new select board plans to avoid increased expenses in the legal budget, said Chairman Rico Cappucci.
The police salary line was increased $68,000 to $723,367.80 due to multiple reasons "with the main issue being an open shift since the beginning of the fiscal year."
One pregnant officer is working inside the office and her "outside" shifts need to be covered. Another officer is gone, Cappucci said.
A "revolving door" in dispatch meant adding $20,000 to the originally appropriated $188,326.
The snow and ice line was increased by $50,000 to cover some of the $81,814.02 deficit. The unemployment line increased to $27,200 from $7,200 because two claims exceeded what was budgeted.
A roof for the fire station at $26,000 was funded as a one-time expense from fiscal year 2016 free cash. The money was set aside at a previous Town Meeting. Fire Chief Dennis Levesque said the work included trim and the shingles have a lifetime warranty.
A two percent raise and an amendment to the salary classification and wage scal, was approved for all non-union and contract employees.
Town Meeting established a Special Education Reserve Fund for the Ayer Shirley Regional School District. The fund will allow the district to set aside funds for special education, said School Committee Chairman Joyce Reischutz.
Town Meeting accepted reports as published and approved paying $2,177.01 for prior year bills
Still to be covered is the majority of the budget, including schools, and articles pertaining to solar on town-owned parcels.
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