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Budgets pass, money added, weather fine at Barrington's FTM

$145,000 added to DPW budget by slim margin

By Josh Bickford
Posted 7/18/20

A $145,000 increase to the Barrington municipal budget came down to just four votes.

Barrington resident TR Rimoshytus proposed the six-figure increase which would cover the salaries and benefits …

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Please support local news coverage –

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Budgets pass, money added, weather fine at Barrington's FTM

$145,000 added to DPW budget by slim margin

Posted

A $145,000 increase to the Barrington municipal budget came down to just four votes.

Barrington resident TR Rimoshytus proposed the six-figure increase which would cover the salaries and benefits for two additional department of public works employees.

He spoke during Saturday's outdoor financial town meeting in Barrington, explaining the reasons for adding the money to the town's $17.6 million municipal operating budget.

Mr. Rimoshytus said the municipal budget gets cut every year. He asked why voters do not target the school department's operating budget, adding that school officials were hiring teachers again this year.

Some residents spoke out against the proposed DPW budget increase.

One resident said his job had been furloughed for three months. That loss of income had a significant impact to his household's finances, he said. People who cannot pay their taxes or who cannot afford to keep their homes do not care that the DPW is slightly under-staffed, he said.

Geoff Grove, a member of the Republican Town Committee and former chairman on the Committee on Appropriations, took an even more direct approach with his comment.

"Absolutely not," he said, about the proposed increase.

He added that town and school officials were already seeking a near-maximum increase to the budget.

"Can you give us a break, please?" he asked.

Resident Joe Bahena said the DPW was likely understaffed, but these are uncertain times, and the town needs to proceed carefully with its finances. Mr. Bahena said the schools will likely need the full-funding to ensure every safety measure for re-entry to schools in the fall.

Some people spoke in favor of the $145,000 increase, including town council member Kate Weymouth. She said she had first-hand knowledge that the DPW was understaffed, and that in addition to duties such as tree-trimming and field maintenance, the public works staff was also tasked with cleaning up trash around town.

Ms. Weymouth said the town's trash and recycling collection contractor will not pick up the piles of roadside litter. She said the DPW is responsible for picking up that garbage, which includes "disgusting" bags of dog waste left hanging on fences and telephone poles.

Steve Primiano, the chairman for the Committee on Appropriations, offered an explanation for his committee's decision to eliminate the $145,000 from the proposed budget. He said COA members believed there was a need for the staffing, but felt that it was overshadowed by the uncertain nature of the budget, including the state revenue figures.

Eventually, Town Moderator Julia Califano called for a standing vote, hoping to avoid an hour-long paper ballot vote. An initial vote led to a more detailed count by a group of volunteers.

After a short wait, Mrs. Califano announced the budget increase had passed — 90 in favor of adding the money and 86 opposed.

Four votes — $145,000.

Other votes

• Residents passed the school department's proposed operating budget: $54,460,526.

• Residents passed the school capital budget: $388,595.

• Residents passed the municipal capital budget: $1,349,200.

• The tax rate increased by 80 cents, from $20.10 (per $1,000 of assessed property value) to $20.90.

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