Published in the March 1, 2019 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — The Town Council approved budgets for six more town departments this week, including Information Technology, Inspectional Services, the Library, Retirement, Town Council and the Accounting Department.
Town Accountant Kevin Gill presented the FY 2020 budgets, starting with the IT Department, with director Todd Bowden alongside to answer questions. The department was seeking a $1,777 increase over the current year’s budget.
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio praised the IT Department as “a success story,” citing the strong cooperation between the town’s and the schools’ IT departments.
The Town Council approved the $351,244 IT budget.
The budget request for Inspectional Services (Building Department) was increased by $8,272 for a total of $312,608, Gill said. Gill noted that this was a revenue producing department, generating approximately $675,000 last year.
After a brief discussion, the Town Council approved the budget.
The $1,729,791 Library Department budget request included a $77,319 increase, Gill said. Director Catherine McDonald responded to questions about the library’s strategic plan and circulation of digital materials.
The Town Council approved the library budget.
After a brief discussion, the Town Council approved the $6,275,187 Retirement budget, including a $435,010 increase.
The board also approved its own $498,341 Town Council budget. Gill said that the $23,910 increase was all in negotiated salary increases. New Media Specialist Jennifer McDonald was introduced to the board. She explained that much of what she has been doing since being hired is not yet visible to the public because it relates to behind the scenes preparation and file clean-out in anticipation of updating and overhauling the town’s web site. She also said that she was working on a communications style guide for use by town departments.
Finally, Gill presented his own Accounting Department budget request, which he said included an increase of $11,657. The Town Council approved the $416,327 budget.
In other business this week, the Town Council approved discontinuing the use of the Accuvote voting machines/equipment and approved the use of the new “ImageCast Precinct” system.
Maio reminded the board that Town Meeting had approved the new vote tabulating system, which is endorsed by the Secretary of State and is now in use by most municipalities in the Commonwealth. Maio said that the new machine are expected to be used for the April Town Election.