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Budget committee talks possible new members

July 21, 2015
ALTON — Alton's budget committee met on July 15 in the town hall for a regular business meeting.

Currently the committee has a call out for two new members and, so far, they have had three people offer to serve.

Marc DeCoff, a former selectman, has previously served on the budget committee and has expressed his interest to do so again.

Greg Fuller has also previously served on the budget committee and did so for many years before taking a break.

David Hershey is a new resident to Alton, according to budget committee Chair Andy McLeod, with a "wide ranging resume.'"

In opening the topic for discussion, McLeod asked if any of the current members would like to speak about the applicants.

School board representative to the budget committee, Steve Miller, chose to speak on behalf of DeCoff, stating, "He stands qualified before this committee if he serves."

McLeod read Hershey's resume into the record before inviting Fuller, the only applicant present, to address the committee regarding his interest.

Fuller stated he had previously served on the committee for 20 years, starting in the 1980s.

"I've got common sense. The law is the law," stated Fuller about how he approached budget committee decisions.

Fuller went on to describe the many positions he has held on the committee, "I was chair, vice-chair and even secretary once."

Budget committee member Roger Nelson stated he was not present for Fuller's tenure and questioned what it is that Fuller hopes to accomplish this time on the committee.

"I have time on my hands," replied Fuller, "If people complain and are not involved, then shame on them."

Miller motioned for the committee to approve Fuller fill one of the two vacancies.

Terence O'Rourke seconded the motion and McLeod voted in the affirmative, but Nelson stated he would like the opportunity to speak with all three candidates before making a decision and in further discussion, highlighted the fact that the openings were posted until Aug. 1 and to fill any positions now would be premature.

McLeod rescinded his vote, stating it is "always my intention to move things along," but this time he "spoke out of turn" since he did not notice the conflict with the Aug. 1 date.

McLeod apologized to Fuller and asked for his understanding, which Fuller readily agreed with saying he would have voted the same way had he been on the committee at this time.

The committee also briefly discussed the non-profits, which are put on Alton's warrant article every year.

McLeod stated he would like these non-profits to bring the previous year's audit when asking for town money so the committee may see where the money is being spent.

Nelson stated he felt it was objectionable to tax residents a third time in an effort to support these organizations when their federal and state taxes were already in support of them.

"All you have to do is vote no," stated Miller.

Nelson stated he was aware of that fact, but Miller went on defending the non-profits and explaining what a small percent of local tax money goes to them.

Nelson said the size of the money going to the non-profits was "irrelevant," the point was taxing the same people three times for the same services.

Miller, however, argued there were families within the community receiving aid from some of these non-profits.

"There are a few that give a direct benefit to the town," stated Miller.

There was no new business or public input, so the budget committee meeting ended after a fairly short session.

The next budget committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. in the town hall on the second floor. They hope to interview the remaining candidates for new membership on the committee at that time.

Martin Lord Osman
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