|By Chris Maza|
EAST LONGMEADOW Town Accountant Thomas Caliento is in the process of formulating a new method through which the town's budget would be presented.
With a budget hearing date for fiscal year 2014 set for April 1, Caliento told the Board of Selectmen at its March 5 meeting that he would send them a draft of a new presentation that he believes would better reflect how the town spends taxpayer dollars.
"In the past, the warrant format has been that the Board of Selectmen shows all the departments that are under their control, then the school department, and then the other departments [such as] the trustees or committees for the Library, Planning and so on," he said.
This budget, he explained, would compartmentalize departments and expenses differently.
"I'm going to suggest a different format this time and that is to show the budget presentation by function of the service. For instance, [for] Public Safety, they would see Police, Fire and Emergency Management budgets under that category," he said.
Caliento used Recreation and Culture as another section in which the budgets of the Recreation Department, the East Longmeadow Public Library and celebrations would be presented together.
"I think it really gives the voters a better idea as to what functions and what each of those functions cost," he said.
Caliento also said that he would like to have the budgets for all departments under the Board of Selectmen's purview ready for its next meeting on March 19 in order to ensure that there is adequate time to complete what he said was a complex fiscal planning process.
"I think we all know we have some big issues to cover for next year and a rather large difference in where the funds will come from and what revenues we have," he said.
Caliento said, however, that if all the town department budgets are not approved by the Board of Selectmen and Appropriations Committee by the public forum, he would be able to give residents a solid understanding of the town's financial situation by presenting what was submitted to the town by the departments.
"The public budget hearing is really just to show the folks where we are right now," he said.
Board of Selectmen Chair Paul Federici said he did not think there would be a problem solidifying the numbers at the March 19 Board of Selectmen meeting.
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