Published in the April 8, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Finance Committee last night voted to recommend favorable action on all FY 2017 town departmental budgets as well as the other spending articles that will be presented at Annual Town Meeting beginning on May 2.

First, the FinCom heard the full presentation of the Capital Outlay budget from Capital Planning Committee chairman Shaun Margerison. Capital will appear as Article 2 on the Town Meeting warrant.

Margerison presented the $2,095,323 Capital Outlay budget, which he said had been pared down from $7.6 million in requests from department heads.

He said that $565,453 of the capital budget goes to pay existing leases of IT equipment and vehicles. Another $317,670 was recommended in new leases/purchases of vehicles, like a new school bus, two new police cruisers and several new DPW vehicles including a street sweeper, a mower and a dump truck with plow and sander.

Margerison said that the largest portion of the capital budget, $920,000 goes toward facilities. He highlighted a number of items, including $125,000 for a High School HVAC system, repairs and upgrades to the DPW North Avenue facility ($95,000), roof replacement at the Senior Center ($60,000), Greenwood School ceiling replacement ($25,000), floor replacement ($20,000) and brick work ($25,000).

Another $100,000 was allocated for roof work at town buildings.

Smaller amounts were in the capital budget for replacement of doors at the High School and the Woodville School.

A total of $100,000 was recommended for drainage system/stream cleaning. Another $30,000 was in the budget for a traffic signal study and $40,000 for parking lot upgrades.

Margerison said that $121,600 was recommended for miscellaneous items like school PA systems, new voting machines and replacement of firefighter protective gear.

Recommended new IT leases totaled $91,653.

Capital recommendations for the Water Division totaled $223,125 and the Sewer Division capital recommendation was for $217,125. Those amounts are funded through receipts of those departments and not by tax levy.

FinCom members discussed whether certain items, such as IT leases and other recurring costs, properly belonged in the Capital Outlay budget. It was suggested that removing some of those items from capital and placing them in operating budgets could allow more needs to be funded with budgeted capital funds.

After asking a number of questions, the FinCom voted to recommend the Capital Outlay budget.

The Finance Committee also voted to recommend favorable Town Meeting action on various sections of the town’s operating budget which will appear under Article 1, including: General Government ($2,292,208); Protection of Persons and Property ($10,217,504); Human Services ($762,105); Public Works ($5,521,310), and Water and Sewer ($12,116,493 from water and sewer receipts).

The FinCom voted in favor of the School Department’s $36,266,170 budget and the Library’s $1,511,780 budget. The town’s portion of the vocational school budget was recommended at $1,146,683.

The “Unclassified” budget was recommended at $1,614,086. The FinCom approved the Benefits and Administration budget at $15,705,963.

The total proposed town operating budget for FY 2017 is $87,205,173.

The Finance Committee also voted to recommend favorable action on the following Town Meeting articles:

• Article 3, Debt Service Fund – $4,252,004.

• Article 4, Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department in lieu of taxes payment, $865,000.

• Article 6, Public Safety Building Study – $100,000 (from Free Cash).

• Article 7, Walton School site study – $50,000 (Free Cash).

• Article 8, Medicaid reimbursement – $10,000.

• Article 9, Fire Department – $200,000 to supplement the Fire Department’s FY 2016 budget.

• Article 10, Worker’s Compensation, $59,180.

• Article 11, Eminent Domain – $1.

• Article 12, Trash Collection – $1,515,000.

• Article 13, Storm water
(NPDES) – $100,000.

• Article 14, Roadway improvements – $200,000.

• Article 15, Sidewalks – $50,000.

• Article 16, Wakefield Building Trust (lease of parking lot behind alano) – $5,650.

• Article 17, Water Treatment Plant upgrades $250,000 (from water surplus account).

• Article 18, Mount Pleasant Avenue/Everett Street betterment $251,415 (borrowing).

• Article 19, new schedule of Building Department fees.

At town Administrator Stephen P. Maio’s request, the FinCom agreed to table Article 5, which relates to funding the Supervisor’s Union contract. Maio said that the sides are still in negotiations.

The total amount requested for all Town Meeting articles is $9,327,408.