Meetings are held remotely. From wellfleet-ma.gov, hover over a date on the calendar on the right of the screen and click on the meeting you’re interested in to open its agenda. That document will provide information about how to view and take part remotely.
Thursday, April 8
- Select Board with executive session, 10 a.m.
- Shellfish Advisory Board, 6:30 p.m.
- Nauset Regional School Committee, 6:30 p.m.
- Zoning Board of Appeals, 7 p.m.
Monday, April 12
- Dredging Task Force, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 13
- School Committee, 4:30 p.m.
- Cultural Council, 5:30 p.m.
- Select Board, 6 p.m.
Thursday, April 15
- Herring River Executive Council, 3 p.m.
Untangling the Budget
The select board unanimously agreed at a special meeting on Monday, April 5 to appoint former Town Administrator Harry Terkanian as a consultant to help untangle what appeared to be a badly knotted town budget process. Town Administrator Maria Broadbent and Town Accountant Heather Michaud had presented the board with a fiscal 2022 budget as scheduled, but chair Michael DeVasto declared their presentation incomplete and unacceptable because the budget was not balanced and showed a $330,000 deficit.
“I don’t think this budget is adequate as it stands to approve or send to the taxpayers,” said DeVasto. “We can’t approve an unbalanced budget without a means to balance it. If we’re going to ask the taxpayers for an override, we have to show that other options have been considered first. The budget is four months late, and it’s incomplete.”
“This is a pickle,” said board member Justina Carlson. “There’s a need to take two steps back and take a look at what the right thing to do is.”
Questions were raised by several department heads about last-minute changes in their budgets that had not been discussed with them. Fire Chief Richard Pauley, Police Chief Michael Hurley, and Shellfish Constable Nancy Civetta all said they had been caught by surprise by the changes.
“The fire dept. budget is cut by $43,607,” said Pauley. “That came to light Thursday afternoon. There’s a salary cut, and I have reached out and asked for detail on that from the town accountant, because all our salaries are built upon bargaining agreements.”
When Carlson said the budgeting process seemed disorderly, with department budgets being cut “at the eleventh hour,” Broadbent interrupted her, saying, “We didn’t cut anything from the department head budgets. We made very few changes from what the departments requested.” She said that some expenditures had been moved to town meeting warrant articles, “to keep the budget from going even higher.”
“What Broadbent proposed is $21,439.15 below what I proposed,” said Civetta. “Maybe it does all make sense, but it’s below what I proposed and what the finance committee approved.”
“It seems like we’re having a theme here,” said select board member Ryan Curley, “where town administration has not communicated with the departments.”
DeVasto said that he had asked Terkanian for help.
“He did express his willingness to consult on balancing the budget and bringing it back to the board,” said DeVasto. “I think it would be expedient for us to take him up on that. We don’t have a lot of time to get where we need to go.” —Josephine de La Bruyère and Edward Miller