Although they usually begin looking at the next fiscal year’s budget in December, the Tisbury selectmen agreed Tuesday to start earlier this year. Town administrator Jay Grande advised that because of a decline in the town’s cash reserves early in this fiscal year, the selectmen should begin capital planning and budgeting discussions in October and November.
With that in mind, municipal finance director Tim McLean sent the selectmen a budget estimate for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1 next year.
“I’m glad we did it early, because we need to really start looking at revenue,” he said. “Because the FinCom has done such good job on the budgeting process the last five or six years, there is not a lot of money to be found in the [department]budgets, unless we decide to do away with some kind of a service or we reduce staffing. And I don’t see us reducing staffing without a reduction in some kind of service.”
The selectmen voted to have selectman Jon Snyder and Mr. Grande begin talks with the FinCom’s capital planning subcommittee soon. Selectman chairman Jeff Kristal recommended talking with the town department heads about their capital needs and coming up with ideas to raise revenue.
In an update on harbor issues, Mr. Grande said the harbor management committee has been discussing the selectmen’s concerns over moorings, how to raise additional revenue, repairs at the shellfish hatchery on the Lagoon Pond, and a proposed project to install boat pump-out wastewater holding tanks at Lake Street and Owen Park.
In other business, at police Chief Dan Hanavan’s recommendation, the selectmen appointed Nicholas Gamble a special police officer until June 30, 2014.
They also took action jointly with the FinCom to appoint Paul Cefola and Thomas Keller as new members of that committee.
At fire chief John Schilling’s request, the selectmen agreed to make the Martha’s Vineyard Fire Training Council, a sub-group of the regional Dukes County Fire Chief’s Association, a formal entity so it will be eligible for grants and funding.
At a previous meeting, the selectmen also approved a request from Chief Schilling and Tisbury Ambulance Service coordinator Tracey Jones for a shift stipend increase for paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The new rate increases the stipend for the 6 pm to 8 am shift from $130 to $200 for paramedics, from $110 to $125 for intermediate EMTs, and from $80 to $100 for basic EMTs.
The selectmen will meet next at 5:30 pm, September 17, at the Tisbury Senior Center.