“We’d start the fiscal year with one rate, and then go up to another rate,” he said, adding that wouldn’t be fair to ratepayers.
Major proposed a compromise water rate of 1 percent, meaning the average water user’s bill will go up around $4 a year instead of $8 a year.
The remaining $150,000 shortfall could be made up by moving money out of reserves into the water fund’s operating budget.
Lyman noted, “That’s a good middle ground. It’s not a huge jump.” And Kowalski said the motion was a “good idea to move us forward.”
The compromise was approved 3-2, with Kowalski changing his vote.
Vispoli said while he was disappointed in the outcome, he was pleased with the level of detail provided by the town manager about the water and sewer budgets.
“It was one of the most comprehensive reviews we’ve seen, and that’s because we questioned it,” he said. “With more detail and more discussion, you get a better view of the situation. We wouldn’t have had that level of detail if we hadn’t insisted on answers.”
He said that in the future, he will insist the town manager provide “that type of comprehensive review before Town Meeting and before any kind of adjustment’s requested. The sequence was completely backward. I stand by my statement because this is the second time it’s happened.”
He added, “That’s our job. Residents expect us to question the budget. We all are taxpayers.”