Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


September 17, 2009

Solving a budget puzzle: Emergency funds for schools, no leaf pickup among proposals


Part-time employee health insurance on the table

A 6 p.m. executive session before tonight's tri-board meeting will include discussions on strategy to approach unions regarding benefits. Selectmen touched on the subject at Monday night's meeting, noting that employees working 20 hours per week or more are eligible for health insurance through the town.

Part-timers who get benefits include 16 town employees working 20 to 25 hours per week and four working 26 to 30 hours per week; 72 school employees who work 20 to 25 hours per week and 32 who work 26 to 30 hours per week. Between individual and family health care plans, town part-time workers cost the town $227,724.48 per year and school employees cost 1,236,608.88, according to Human Resources Director Candace Hall.

Possible cuts to leaf collection

One of the budget cuts proposed by Stapczynski is elimination of leaf collection by the department of public works. Selectman Mary Lyman spoke out against the idea, asking to see alternative suggestions.

Stapczynski said he would "revisit" the idea of cutting leaf collection. An alternative, he noted, is for residents to buy a vehicle sticker and use the compost site on Bald Hill, High Plain Road, for leaves.

DPW Director Jack Petkus said leaf collection could not be delayed or shortened, because the same amount of leaves fall every year. Petkus said he also researched hiring a private contractor that would use a vacuum truck to collect piles. The cost would average $100 per property, he said.

The School Committee is also developing a list of proposed cuts, which will be fine-tuned and discussed at tonight's tri-board meeting. On Tuesday, committee member Dennis Forgue indicated the list was not yet ready for release.


LIST: Possible non-school cuts

Town Manager's Preliminary FY2010 Budget Reduction Plan for Town Departments (as of 9/11/09)

Police - $112,000

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