Police department may have to make difficult cuts

With a projected budget shortfall upwards of $2 million, town departments may have to make deeps cuts for 2010. But in the case of the police department budget, there’s little fat to trim.

“Ninety-four percent of our budget is contractual,” Interim Chief Jane Moran told the Advisory Committee this week. Previously-negotiated contracts cover everything from the unions to computer support and maintenance.

Chief Moran proposed an FY2010 budget of $1.6 million. While level-service, the budget represents a $76K, or 4.9%, increase over the current year. Moran explained the increase is due mostly to contractual obligations with the police and dispatchers unions.

The Advisory Committee is asking all town departments to submit two budgets: a level-service budget and a reduced budget that would require no tax increase to fund. Town meeting voters will get to review both budgets and decide which to approve.

Advisory Committee Chairman John Butler said in the case of the police department, a no-tax-increase budget would need to come in at around $1.5 million, or 8% under the level-service budget.

Chief Moran said it wasn’t immediately obvious what could be trimmed from the budget. “Maybe we could cut some programs,” she said.

The only capital expense included in the budget is $62K for replacing two cruisers. Funding for a new police station, estimated at over $7 million, is not included in the police department budget.

Related stories:
Southborough Police hope to purchase an SUV
Southborough faces potential $2M budget shortfall
Advisory requests reduced budgets for fiscal year 2010
Selectmen lend support to new police station

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