WOOD RIVER JUNCTION - The Chariho School Committee adopted the Fiscal Year 2013 budget on Tuesday night, after one final altercation that will relieve $200,000 from the member towns’ contribution bottom line. The budget will now be put to the will of the voters at an April 10 referendum.
The final cut came an amendment to the budget by Councilman Robert Cardozo while a motion to pass the budget as is was already on the table. After a discussion of the amendment ensued, the amended motion passed.
Cardozo’s amendment calls for a $200,000 reduction to the budget’s bottom line. Half of that reduction will be taken from the district’s reserve account, and the other half will fall on the shoulders of Supt. Barry Ricci, to either increase revenue or cut expenditures.
“I think the budget is in a good place right now, but if that’s what you want then I will find it.” Ricci said to the committee.
The Supt. said that it is too early for him to know where and how he will find the $100,000, but said that he will likely wait for a bid to come in for a heating system at Hope Valley School, so he can evaluate that cost before making any decisions.
With the final adoption of the amended budget, the total bottom line including debt service sits at $55,191,307. The member towns’ contribution to the FY2013 budget, after the $200,000 reduction, is $51,470,635. The total spending increase is 1.4 percent.
“The sense was that we needed to make a budget cut,” said Cardozo of his last minute amendment. “I think it was appropriate. I think we tried to meet the needs of the taxpayers and also meet the needs of the students.”
While the amended budget was met favorably by most of the committee members, those representing Hopkinton still believe that the budget is too expensive. Both Georgia Ure and Dorothy Gardiner voted against the adoption of the budget.
“It isn’t enough,” said Ure of the amendment to reduce by $200,000, “it just isn’t enough. Hopkinton is hurting. It’s too big, it’s too much.”
Gardiner echoed the sentiments of Ure.
“We need to look very carefully at the budget and see what we can do without,” she said before casting her dissenting vote. “I’d like to see you whack two million from it, honestly. Our town simply cannot afford these tax increases.”
Ure said that she believed $1 million could be cut from the budget.
“I’d like to know which sports you want to cut, which programs you want to cut,” Ricci said publicly in response to some of Ure’s comments. The Supt. pointed out the fact that Hopkinton’s contribution to the budget is approximately $700,000 less than it was two years ago.
For more information, pick up a copy of The Chariho Times.