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TOWNSEND — The Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee jointly agreed to present a $15 million town budget to the voters at the annual town meeting on May 2, including a 3.5 percent increase for non-union town workers.

Among cost-saving possibilities is a return to a four-day workweek for town employees.

Selectman Peter Collins said he went through the numbers from the FinCom and saw no glaring issues, commending the finance board for showing “fiscal restraint.”

Finance Committee Chairman Donald Klein said the end numbers were higher than originally expected due to utility costs.

”We did put more into the budget from free cash due to the rising cost of energy,” Klein said. “We strongly recommend and ask all departments to be on ‘energy conservation’ mode for next fiscal year’s budget.”

Other increases reflected in the budget, according to Klein, are contractual raises, and certifications for the highway and building inspectors.

Klein also said the school budget was increased, and the town will go along with the higher numbers.

”The net minimum requirement went up, so we have to go with it,” he said.

One budget figure that drew some discussion was the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for non-union employees.

Selectmen previously voted to give non-union employees a 3.5 percent increase for their COLA. The FinCom budget will ask the town to transfer $51,439.76 for this purpose.

Selectman Collins said all municipal employees in town are underpaid, and will remain so due to budget constraints.

”Years back, when I served on the FinCom, I did a cost analysis for a four-day work week, which was a benefit for the employees,” Collins said. “Maybe we should look at that again.” He said closing Memorial Hall on Fridays saved the town $17,000 back then.

”That would be more like $20,000 now with the rising cost of lights in the buildings,” the selectman noted, adding that a return to the four-day week would be a good-faith gesture to employees as well as a cost savings.

”The majority do not work a 40-hour week now, so doing about 32 hours in four days makes sense,” Collins said.

The FinCom Chairman said dealing with COLA increases, and a possible reclassification process for non-union employees, is something to be done in better financial times.

”I understand where the employees are coming from,” Klein said. “After all they have been shortchanged for a number of years.”

”This whole mess is becoming a pain in my head and it could make me go bald,” Klein joked.

The FinCom and selectmen agreed to support the 3.5 percent COLA increase for non-union employees on the floor of town meeting.

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