Board of Finance talks books, salt, technology
SHARON â€“ The Board of Finance met Tuesday night to discuss the budget proposals facing the town, including those presented by the Board of Education. Particular attention was paid to the Board of Educationâ€™s request for the replacement of textbooks and for supplemental materials for the classroom.
The request for this line item in the 2008-09 budget stands at $20,716, which is a decrease of $613 from the $21,339 request for these items in the 2007-08 budget. Chairman of the Board of Education Electra Tortorella explained the textbooks would be for the classroom libraries and would ensure that students were provided with books that matched their reading levels.
Focus was also on the Board of Educationâ€™s proposal for improvements to school computers and general technology. The request for these items is $76,949, which would be used toward upgrading school computers once every four years to keep up with ever advancing improvements in computer technology.
In other business, the Board of Finance looked at the townâ€™s salt needs during the winter. The requested line item for salt for next year on the selectmenâ€™s budget is $80,000, up from last yearâ€™s request for $50,000. Due to the severity of this yearâ€™s winter, the town was compelled to request an additional $50,000 for salt, which was approved through a town meeting. Another $20,000 was also appropriated by the Board of Finance for this yearâ€™s winter, bringing the total salt expenditure to $120,000.
There was some discussion at the meeting as to whether $80,000 would be enough to cover the townâ€™s salt needs for next year. First Selectman Malcolm Brown noted that should the town need additional funding for salt, the Board of Finance would be within its power to once again appropriate an additional $20,000. Brown seemed confident that $80,000 was a reasonable estimate, noting that this yearâ€™s winter brought 26 storm events, 13 of which were ice storms, which accounts for the large spike in salt use compared to recent years.
No action was taken on the budget at this weekâ€™s meeting as the budget is still a work in progress. Sharonâ€™s budget hearing is scheduled for April 25 and May 9 is the date for formal approval.