Brookfield registered voters and property owners are called to the Annual Town Meeting Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Brookfield High School (BHS) auditorium to set the date and question(s) for the budget referendum.
The Board of Finance (BOF) , including $120,000 from education spending and $60,000 from police department salaries. The proposal works out to a 3.93 percent spending increase over 2012-13 and a tentative 3.5 percent increase to the mill rate.
The police department will be able to adjust to the cuts by postponing the hiring and training of the two School Resource Officers (SROs) until closer to the school year or by putting off back-filling the positions within the department, according to Maj. Jay Purcell, though the officers might not be a presence in the schools from the first day in September.
Purcell said Monday that the department has to wait to see about retirements and other areas before being able to finalize a plan.
The Board of Education (BOE) deliberated on how to adjust for the cuts over two meetings since the BOF met, ultimately deciding to forego instituting Mandarin in the World Language program this year.
The school administration was able to adjust to some of the decrease with $13,000 in savings from a new fuel oil contract and $35,000 in retirements, however that still left a sizeable amount with few areas left to cut.
“Mandarin was really the number,” BOE member Scott McCarthy said, stating that the board looked at other possibilities, such as pension contribution, but felt that “being fiscally responsibly is certainly more important.”
McCarthy said the board is focused on Mandarin to replace Italian as the third World Language in the program, however without sufficient funding and the Language Lab, removed from the capital budget, it will have to wait at least one more year.
“It’s something we’ll have to prioritize in the future,” he said, adding that “Mandarin is certainly the right language.”
Residents will have the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed budget, set the date for referendum, split the municipal and education budgets into two questions and reduce single line items by vote at Tuesday’s meeting.