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Select Board establishes goals for FY10

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW The Select Board have been discussing their goals for the upcoming year since July and at their Aug. 18 meeting, the group established what their key values are and what goals they aim to accomplish during fiscal year 2009.

The five values that the Select Board want to focus on are financial stability, sustainability and health; maintaining education levels; maintaining public safety; maintaining the quality of life; and the protection of assets and resources.

"We need to look at the big picture," board member Robert Barkett noted. He added that the board needed to identify the goals that fit in each of those five categories and then focus on achieving them while realizing that not all their goals might be achieved in this fiscal year.

"I don't know if there's any higher priority than the financial stability," board member William Scibelli said. Fellow member Kathleen Grady agreed, stating that the first value is "miles above everything else."

The most important goal is setting the FY10 budget, which ties into all five values. Paul Pasterczyk, the town's Finance Director, will present projections for that budget during the Sept. 15 meeting of the Select Board. Other financial goals include reaching agreements on collective bargaining, creating a set water/sewer rate structure and working on debt exclusion for the future Department of Public Works and high school projects.

Setting the budget and reaching collective bargaining agreements also tie into the values of maintaining educational, public safety and quality of life levels.

The search for a new police chief is an especially prevalent goal for this fiscal year because the contract of the current chief, Robert Danio, was already extended past its expiration date.

The protection of assets and resources will include focusing on capital projects for all the town's buildings and land.

"We should be concerned with the number of dollars we want to allocate to each of the values," Scibelli stated.

Select Board chair Paul Santaniello said that organizing the values and goals "doesn't dictate the amount of dollars, it says where the dollars go."

Now that goals and values are established, Barkett said the Select Board needs to put a timeline on when they wish to start to accomplish them. The FY10 budget discussions will begin next month.

Despite the uncertainty about some of the smaller goals, there is one thing taxpayers can be sure of. "The board will not go forward with a Proposition 2 1/2 override [in FY10]," according to Scibelli.