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Joyce Endee

Budget Committee slashes police department, proposes cutting three officers

February 01, 2012
NORTHUMBERLAND – The proposed budget for the town's police department fared poorly under the scrutiny of the budget committee when it met for it's first go-round at the town budget on Jan. 17.

Coming up for discussion near the end of the three-plus hour meeting, a motion was made to cut the budget to allow for only one full-time officer, increase the hours for part-time officers, and allow for no overtime. Following what the minutes indicate was relatively little discussion, the committee voted 5-2, with one abstention, to cut approximately $100,000 from the proposed budget.

Based on the meeting minutes, the reduced budget would allow about $45,000 to fund the chief's salary and $125,000 to pay part-time officers. The minutes do not indicate which members voted for or against the motion, nor do they indicate who seconded the motion, made by Al Rosetto. According to the minutes the only opposition to the cuts came from Rob Gauthier, also a member of the selectboard.

The prevailing sentiment seemed to be that a town the size of Groveton does not need four full-time officers. There was also some discussion of what constitutes 24-hour coverage.

The committee also made minor reductions to the parks and recreation and water and sewer proposals, and approved $75,000 for a town administrator position, as yet undetermined as to whether it will be a full-time or part-time position. Committee members also voted to place a one-year cap on the amount the town pays toward health insurance premiums. Most general government requests were approved as presented.

The committee met again on Jan. 25 to finish its review of the remaining budget categories; minutes from that session were not available as of press time.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Salmon Press
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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