May 2010

Comment regarding Warrant Committee Programmatic Review
Date: May 25, 2010   Category: Town Expenses in General   MsgID: M007
Under "Citizens' Questions," MsgID: Q011, there is a question about the results of Warrant Committee Programmatic Review. I just want to add that partial findings are included in the W.C.'s report to the Town Meeting, distributed to Members in advance of the May session. Perhaps BelmontBudget could post a link to that? The information is still somewhat incomplete, but a lot of work went into it and it is a great start toward making it possible to connect actual expenses to concrete public goals. I salute the W.C. for doing this!

Comment regarding the D.A.R.E. program
Date: May 10, 2010   Category: Specific Town Function - Public Safety   MsgID: M006
I notice that the BPD policy narrative for this year includes comment about maintaining DARE and possibly expanding it as an FY11 objective. What is the cost of this program? The police seem to like continuing this program, but is it advisable?

"In 2001, the Surgeon General of the United States, David Satcher M.D. Ph.D., placed the D.A.R.E. program in the category of "Does Not Work."[5] The U.S. General Accountability Office concluded in 2003 that the program was sometimes counterproductive in some populations, with those who graduate from D.A.R.E. later having higher rates of drug use (a boomerang effect)." For other study results go to:

March 2010

Comment regarding the Ice Rink vs the Swimming Pool
Date: March 10, 2010   Category: Town Expenses in General   MsgID: M005
I believe that Belmont should investigate privatizing the ice rink. If a budget decision comes down to whether the Town should have the ice rink or have the swimming pool, I believe the pool is more important.

February 2010

Comment regarding long-term cost of Town employees
Date: February 14, 2010   Category: Town Expenses in General   MsgID: M004
We have a unfunded pension liability of $50 million and unfunded post retirement medical liability of $166 million. In addition, our lack of allocations for capital improvement (existing buildings, roads, schools, etc) mean that our existing infrastructure is not being maintained for LT performance.

Instead of adding EE's, let's first properly account for the true cost of each employee(pension and health costs).

Suggestion regarding school mailing expense
Date: February 12, 2010   Category: School Expenses in General   MsgID: M003
The town should consider switching to Envirolopes:

This new kind of envelope saved Portland,ME $5K in forms, printing, and handling costs.

January 2010

Comment regarding Town-owned property
Date: January 25, 2010   Category: Town Revenue in General   MsgID: M002
I fear that the Town is selling too many Town-owned properties. While the revenue in the short-term may look nice from the sale of assets such as the old fire stations, in the long-term, I think it would benefit the Town to retain ownership of the property, even if the property is made subject to a long-term lease. I think the Town should not sell the Benton Library Branch, but should lease that property.

December 2009

Suggestion regarding skating rink usage plan
Date: December 28, 2009   Category: Town Revenue in General   MsgID: M001
"Ice time" at local skating rinks always seems to be available at a premium. The Town should develop a specific plan on how it might use the Town skating rink as a revenue source. Could such revenue be earmarked for support of the Town Recreation Department?