TOWNSEND — The Finance Committee reviewed old business but did not begin reviewing budget requests for fiscal 2013 at its meeting Feb. 2.
“Weren’t you going to have a budget? Weren’t they due?” committee member Carolyn Sellars asked Town Administrator Andy Sheehan.
“They were due a week ago. I’m working with the departments to get them in,” he replied.
“There are a great many missing — all the big ones except the Highway Department,” Finance Committee Clerk Andrea Wood said. No matter how early the request for budgets go out, there are delays.
“I was under the impression you were going to go department by department,” Sheehan said.
The committee likes to have an overview of all the budgets to put things in context before reviewing departments in depth, Sellars said.
“I’ll work to get you a complete budget next week,” Sheehan said.
“If you can’t, and I’m not blaming you if they don’t come in, let us know and we’ll cancel the meeting,” Wood said. The Finance Committee is scheduled to meet again on Feb. 16.
The committee went over other financial items with Sheehan.
The entire bill for the October storm cleanup comes to $165,000, Wood said. The Highway and Cemetery and Parks departments spent approximately $40,000 clearing the roads.
Two other contractors billed the town $124,486.23 for removing hanging and leaning trees and limbs from the sides of the road. Earlier Sheehan rounded that figure to $100,000.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the town 75 percent of the cost from the contracts Sheehan said. He does not yet know if any of the $40,000 will be reimbursed and has not yet received paperwork to submit the claim to FEMA.
Earlier, Sheehan said the state may reimburse the town for another 12.5 percent of the cost. As of Feb. 3, Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula said the town had not yet heard if state reimbursement will happen.
Because of increases for insurance and wages, the budget costs for municipal employees will increase in fiscal 2013, according to Sheehan.
Health insurance costs are not yet known. The Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association is hedging on a 9 percent increase he said.
MIIA, part of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, is usually the cheapest way for towns to buy insurance, Sheehan said. Finance Committee Chairman Paul Nicoli said he thought the health plan should go out to bid.
A 2.5 percent step raise for town employees would cost between $55,000 and $60,000 for the upcoming fiscal year, Sheehan said.
The recently implemented wage matrix will also increase the budget, Nicoli said. The new plan increased wages by $150,000 per year. Sheehan said the figures for the matrix are not final.
Workers compensation insurance payments will increase approximately $3,000 per year, Sheehan said. Unemployment insurance costs will rise slightly because of increased wages, Wood said.
The town may become responsible for securing the property on Barker Hill Road that burned after an explosion in October, Sheehan said. Nicoli said it was likely a lien holder on the mortgage would have been carrying insurance.
“I suggest you look into that,” Nicoli said. “If they can’t contact the owners, it may be easier to get a hold of the bank. They’ll act,” he said.
The town will also incur a minor expense because of the antique clock purchased for Memorial Hall with money from the Marilyn C. MacEachern Fund. Insurance will cost about $40 annually, Nicoli said.