CARVER – Selectmen and Finance Committee members continue their review of town budgets with the focus on what’s working and where improvements can surface.
The joint budget reviews during selectmen’s meetings are also a time to catch up on operations within each of the departments.
The budget for the new Operations and Management Department, led by Director Dave Siedentopf and Assistant Director John Woods, proposes anticipated staffing change due to the consolidation of the town buildings and grounds department and the school facilities department.
Selectman Ron Clarke said there was some trepidation on his part about combining the two departments, but that it’s great that the benefits of consolidation are exceeding expectations.
Siedentopf said they are working to formalize operations utilizing a new software package, develop a maintenance plan and determine the needs of the town and the schools when it comes to equipment so that efforts aren’t duplicated and they have the equipment the town needs.
With new Planning Director Stephen Cole heading the Planning, Environmental and Permitting Department, there is a renewed effort to encourage economic development, and an increase of nearly 8 percent in the department’s budget.
Town Administrator Michael Milanoski said the increase reflects Cole’s salary, based on his experience, and a $5,000 error in last year’s budget. He said the budget includes a correction to address that error.
Cole said he’s committed to improving services and customer service, including introducing a new initiative to allow residents to do more business online and another to streamline the permitting process and inspections.
He also plans to pursue more grants for the town and expects that the Route 44 development project in North Carver will demand more of his attention from the economic development perspective.
The North Carver Water District is also focused on Route 44 development and the impact on new development and more permits, with a funding mechanism in place called district improvement financing that would benefit the town and the district.
Finance Director Meg LaMay proposes few changes in Finance Department budgets, with the exception of the addition to the budget of a full-time employee in the assessing department.
As for Carole Julius, the Council on Aging director as well as the Carver Public Library director, there are no significant increases in either budget. Frozen pipes and improved financial controls were among highlights at the COA.
Staffing changes, certification by the state Board of Library Commissioners and an increase in revenue from increased passport fees at the library were among the highlights.
Veterans Agent Ken Morrison has been busy helping veterans and said he annually faces cost overruns. He reported that he continues efforts to reduce overruns.
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