GROTON — Groton faces the prospect of layoffs and other personnel cuts to bring its budget in line with available revenue, Town Manager Mark Haddad told the Board of Selectmen Monday.
While the state budget hasn’t been approved yet, Haddad explained, it preserves cuts that include a further decrease in local aid of $232,000. He said he had already contacted municipal unions to discuss possible cuts.
Several unfilled positions targeted for possible elimination include the information technology director, transfer station foreman, and new patrolman for the Police Department. Existing positions that would be eliminated included various temporary and seasonal employees and an office assistant for the Board of Health.
In addition, Sunday hours at the public library would be eliminated.
Selectman Joshua Degen expressed regret at the loss of the IT director’s position, noting that selectmen had long wanted to fill the job and had finally secured it at Spring Town Meeting.
And Board of Health member Susan Horowitz protested the elimination of its office assistant, noting that the board is responsible not only for septic issue, but 40 other health-related items.
“We appreciate your concern,” Selectmen Dhairman Peter Cunningham said. “At the end of the day, we will make sure that your office has the help it needs.”
Selectman Fran Dillon underlined the difficult decisions that lie ahead.
“We are facing an immediate financial crisis and it’s not going to get better, it’s going to get worse,” he warned.
In better financial news, Groton School Headmaster Richard Commons presented the town with a check for $100,000.
As a nonprofit, the Groton School has donated annual amounts to the town over the years in lieu of taxes. Acknowledging the worsening economic picture, Commons told the board the school increased its donation and is making a commitment to offer the same amount every year for the next 20 years. He noted the school’s strong partnership with the town, including work on the recent purchase of the Surrenden Farm land, and expressed appreciation for town services.
In other actions, selectmen:
l Proclaimed June 14 Helen McCarthy Sawyer Day in honor of Sawyer’s 100th birthday and her contributions to the town, as teacher, member of the library trustees and local historian, including three books on Groton. Sawyer’s birthday is June 15.
l Met with the Groton Country Club’s new general manager, Robert Whalen, on renewing the club’s liquor license to reflect the management change and to permit an expansion of where liquor can be served at the club. Although there was little opposition to Whalen’s plans, Skyfield Drive resident Gregg Yanchenko protested allowing a “beverage cart” moving among the club’s nine holes to serve liquor to golfers. The board voted to change the license to reflect the new management and to allow its expansion to the club’s snack bar and front porch, but restricted use of a beverage cart to weekends and special tournaments.