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GROTON — With less than two weeks remaining until the annual town meeting, the Finance Committee continues to search for things to cut in their recommended budget for fiscal year 2007.

Meeting with the Board of Selectmen on April 5, the Finance Committee reviewed requests for more hours and new personnel made by a number of town departments including the library trustees, the Board of Assessors, the Fire Department and the Personnel Board.

“We have a ways to go,” said committee Chairman Steven Webber.

In order to do whittle down the budget, committee members decided first to delay hiring a new personnel manager until next October.

“Thirty hours on Oct. 1 is not such a bad thing,” said town accountant Valerie Jenkins. It would take at least until then to go through the search-and-hire process.

“I’m very comfortable with the Oct. 1 date,” said Webber.

A personnel manager is needed now, more than ever, said Personnel Board member Patti Modzelewski, because of the number of labor contracts the town needed to negotiate and to interface with town departments.

Currently, department heads needing information on personnel management, benefits, etc. have no one to go to, said Modzelewski, and significant changes need to happen if service is to improve.

When and if hired, a personnel manager would receive $41,040 per year and work 30 hours per week.

Finance Committee members also voted to put off hiring new fireman for the Fire Department until Jan. 1, 2007.

Also cut was $4,400 earmarked for fireworks on the Fourth of July.

“To put on a fireworks display on the Fourth of July is a very simple process,” said Parks Commission member Don Black, whose budget covers the expense. “We’re not a burden to the taxpayers.”

“Everyone agrees that it’s great, but the question is how to raise the money,” said Webber.

Committee members debated how the money could be raised for fireworks if its source of funding were cut, namely money earned from the collection of returnable bottles and cans.

Committee member Jay Prager pointed out that with only a few months before the Fourth of July, there was only a short time to plan a fund-raising effort.

A way around the problem, suggested Black, was to use leftover money from the town’s 350th celebration. Those funds, which cannot be used after June 30, could be spent on the fireworks if the display were scheduled for the night of June 30.

With that possibility in mind, the committee voted 5-4 to cut the fireworks money from the budget.

Rescued from the cutting block was a new young adult librarian position requested by the library.

Library representative Brian Mullins said the request would include funding up to 19 hours for the position at a cost of $17,000.

Library officials have insisted that the growing popularity of their young adult program, and its support by town officials such as the police chief, is an important investment in the town’s young people.

The committee agreed, and a motion to postpone funding the position until Jan. 1, 2007 failed by a vote of 2-4.

Also saved was a motion to defer adding 16 hours to the office of the Board of Assessors.

The board has argued that the hours are needed so staff members can make on-site visits. It would also free up time for assistant assessor Rena Swezey to work on actual assessment figures in the office.

In addition, the extra hours would enable the assessors’ office to complete a transition to allow all functions of the office to be performed in-house instead of being contracted out, costing the town money.

The extra hours would add $16,000 to the assessors’ annual budget.

According to Jenkins, the final figure for the FY07 budget for the town stood at $29,296,016.

The annual town meeting is scheduled for April 24.

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