continued Lake-Toms also asked the board to become more creative in constructing the town’s budget by working more closely with department officials.
“We have some of the finest department heads in the state working for us and I totally believe in all of them,” she said. “I think if we ask them to become more creative on how we can keep our services instead of losing and cutting, we can come up with some great ideas to maintain everyone’s budget.”
In response to Boyke’s previously suggested $500,000 cut from the police department, Bridgeport resident Jim Willard said he believes the board needs to be cautious in reducing essential services that maintains the safety of the citizens.
“I would ask you to be very, very, very careful in limiting the police department’s manpower so we don’t end up with a bigger problem,” said Willard.
Resident Tom Beaulieu lightly reprimanded the board for not having a budget ready for adoption and informed the members that they need to work together for the benefit of the town.
“Or we’re not going to get anything done,” Beaulieu added. “Tonight (Nov. 10) you should have had some hard numbers. We really don’t, so it’s all still pretty much up in the air.”
Aside from stating that all department budgets need to be looked at as many of them go hand-in-hand, Councilor Lynn Jennings echoed Beaulieu’s acknowledgment of the lack of unity among board members
“This board needs to work as a body of one for the residents,” he said, prompting applause from the crowd.
The board held two more budget workshops – 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 and 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14 – before its adoption to discuss potential changes.
Boyke stated that the board will consider all of the comments and concerns raised by the public during the hearing, while Deputy Supervisor Jessica Zambrano encouraged the residents to attend the listening-only workshops.
“Unfortunately, we are, at this point, without any numbers to look at,” said Zambrano. “The budget workshops are going to be an important time to make some tough decisions.”
The board plans to adopt the 2012 budget during a special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16 following a public hearing at 6 p.m. to pass a local law allowing a tax levy to exceed the state’s 2 percent cap.