In a move the police chief called “pretty dire,” Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf last week recommended cutting $18K from the police department’s $1.6M budget. She suggested the money could be saved by reducing police overtime.
But Police Chief Jane Moran cautioned against the move. “It would mean putting the citizens of Southborough at risk,” she said. Without sufficient overtime, Moran said certain shifts would have only two officers on duty — one manning the station and one out on the road.
Pnaneuf said the money did not have to come from overtime, but she still supported reducing next year’s overall police budget by $18K. That’s a 0.2% decrease compared to this year.
The other police department budget item scrutinized was the request for two new cruisers totaling $60K. Moran told selectmen the cruisers would replace one that currently has 106K miles and one that has 68K miles. She noted that the one with 68K miles would have more like 80-90K miles by the time it was actually traded in.
“These are the tools we work with,” Moran said. “These go 24/7 in all kinds of weather.”
Historically, the department has replaced two cruisers each year. In 2009 voters approved two new SUV’s to replace aging cruisers. One was approved at the annual town meeting in April, and the second was approved at the special town meeting in September.
Phaneuf originally said she did not support the purchase of any cruisers this year, but ultimately agreed with Selectmen Bill Boland and Sal Giorlandino that replacing one of the cruisers would be prudent.
The DPW budget was also hard-hit. In addition to an overall cut totaling 3.7% of their operating budget, Phaneuf recommended eliminating $220K in capital equipment requests. “We’ll see what we can postpone,” DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan said.