Council President Peter Gill has asked the town manager to compile a report on a $208,800 transfer request from the School Committee that would be taken from the townâ€™s free cash fund.
Gill was quick to denounce the request when it was read at the Council meeting Tuesday night. â€œIâ€™m very concerned about this request,â€ said Gill. â€œThat $208,000 comes from out of free cash and free cash is not a bank. I believe it was known that this money was going to be needed â€“ and it should have been worked through the budget.â€
Gill said heâ€™s â€œnot real clearâ€ what the School Committeeâ€™s budget strategy was that led to the transfer request being made.
â€œWe had a clarification by a former School Committee person at the last meeting and it wasnâ€™t in my mind real clear,â€ said Gill.
The council leader said the town will ultimately approve the transfer request [because] â€œwe owe the money and we have to pay it.â€
â€œBut before we do, I have to have some questions answered that I, as a citizen, can understand and then carry to my role as a Town Council member and Town Council president,â€ said Gill. â€œI donâ€™t want to be sitting here next year and have this come up again. Without placing blame anywhere, I just need to know what caused this situation to happen.â€
Gill said the free cash and Council reserve funds are for â€œunanticipated expenses.â€ Gill believes that the School Committeeâ€™s transfer request is for an anticipated expense that should have placed in the School Department budget.
Gill made it clear that the budgetary planning [that has now resulted in the $208,800 transfer request] happened before current Superintendent of Schools John Macero took office and he is not responsible for the as-of-yet unresolved issue.