Selectmen OK $76m budget

Selectmen have recommended a $76 million budget for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1, an increase of almost 5 percent from this year. The vote was 4 to 1, with Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh voting no. The budget, the first that contains recommendations from the new town manager, Michael Hartman, is about $1.5 million less than departments had sought in their initial requests. The School Department, for example, requested about $39.5 million, an increase of $1.8 million, and selectmen voted for a $1.6 million increase. The proposed budget asks for three new positions: an information technology specialist, an assistant sanitarian for the Board of Health, and a code enforcement officer for the Building Department. The budget will be taken up by the Finance Committee, which will make its own recommendations before it is brought to the floor of Town Meeting in May.