Councilor files to reconsider budget

  • The Greenfield Town Hall Recorder File Photo/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Friday, May 19, 2017

GREENFIELD — A 1 percent cut across the board is too simple of a solution for such a complex budget, so says Precinct 8 Councilor Ashli Stempel who on Friday filed a motion for Town Council to reconsider the Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget.

The council voted to cut the mayor’s proposed budget by 1 percent during a contentious meeting earlier this week.

Councilors were split on the amendment, with the tie being broken by council President Brickett Allis.

Stempel’s motion to reconsider will be taken up during the council’s next meeting on June 21.

The cut, originally proposed by Allis and council Vice President Isaac Mass, is intended to slow the increase of the tax rate. They estimated that the 1 percent cut, which applied to all town departments, will save the average residential taxpayer $59 compared to what they would have paid if the mayor’s budget had been approved.

Stempel, who voted against the amendment, said the operating budget is too complex to be reduced by any amount across the board.

“It struck me as very simple for something so complex,” she said, adding that the Ways and Means Committee, which she chairs, deliberated over the budget department-by-department since April and never saw any evidence of overspending or a lack of a need of funds requested by departments.

“This year’s amendment to the budget was created in a vacuum and submitted less than one business day before our Ways and Means deliberation on Monday,” she said.

By asking the council to reconsider the budget, Stempel hopes to encourage a more collaborative process among councilors. She said she plans to determine whether she will bring a proposal before the council in June or whether the issue can be addressed with a conversation on the floor.

“There’s clearly a divide on our council, the same votes from the same people on the same side of the pendulum,” she said. “(It’s) really asking the council to come together, consider this and work through that divide and collaborate.”