HARVARD — The regularly scheduled Finance Committee meeting Wednesday night centered mainly on upcoming administrative duties the committee will be facing in the next few months as it prepares to make its recommendations for the spring town meeting.
The review of the budget calendar occupied the main discussion of the night, with the board hoping to resolve its vacancies by the next meeting.
With three open spots on the Finance Committee going into fall, members hope to have these positions filled by the time the budgetary review process begins.
With this uncertainty in mind as to who will be sitting on the committee, the board voted to reschedule its next meeting to Oct. 8 instead of the original Oct. 1.
“Hopefully, we will be back to full force by then,” said Chairman George McKenna.
“Then we can put the budget calendar together and begin the work of setting budgeting guidelines, getting them approved and circulated,” McKenna added.
It was reported that bids for the school boiler are in with the low bid starting at around $6.000. This was good news considering the town had appropriated $12,000 for the work.
The meeting concluded with the board looking at the prior year’s budget calendar and a general discussion of the approaches the board will take in setting recommended guidelines.
Talk centered around whether a “level-based” or “level-service” preliminary budget will be the starting point of talks as opposed to a “zero-based budget,” in which the budget starts at zero and goes from there.
A “level-service” or “level-funding” approach would take last year’s budget and use that as the basis for this year’s deliberations. The level-service budget would take into account the higher cost of providing the same level of services. The level-funded budget keeps the same bottom line and usually means fewer services since the costs of services generally rise.
It was noted that no serious discussion can take place until some revenue projections come in.