As a result of a parliamentary action by Councilor-at-Large Philip Boncore, the Council postponed action on approving the $45 million town budget for Fiscal Year 2013.
“I’m going to take my prerogative under the charter – because this is the first time it’s coming to us for a vote,” said Boncore following a discussion of amendments to the budget at the Council meeting Tuesday night.
Councilor Nicholas DelVento seemed to suggest that a precedent precluded Boncore from making a request for postponement.
“When that issue was raised last year on amendments to the budget as per the charter, the council president and this council decided that amendments can and shall be taken from the floor – and since the budget has been under discussion prior to this meeting – this is not the first time it’s been heard,” said DelVento.
Boncore disagreed saying, “This is the first time we’ve heard the amendments and it’s the first time we’ve heard the report from the Finance Commission.”
Council President Peter Gill weighed in on the discussion, taking a side with DelVento.
“This is an amendment and the budget had been presented before and given that, I believe it’s in order,” said Gill.
However, Boncore found an ally in Councilor Paul Varone.
“What would the harm be in putting it off until the next meeting?” Varone asked his colleagues. “Or at least calling a special meeting.”
Boncore reiterated his position, stating that he could not recall the sequence of actions during last year’s budget meeting.
“But I do have a memory of what the charter says, and the charter says if a councilor objects to motions being made for the first time – a motion to approve the budget is being made for the first time. The budget has been presented but a motion to approve is being made for the first time. I want to see all the amendments in writing. I want to have an opportunity to discuss the questions I have on the budget with the town manager before we vote on the budget.”
Boncore then declined to answer a question from Councilor Craig Mael about whether there was anything specific in the budget process that he didn’t find to his liking.
Added Gill, “This commission has six meetings that I’ve attended. I don’t really see the need for this postponement but I would urge Councilor Boncore to withdraw his request.”
Boncore told Gill that he would not withdraw his request for postponement.
Town Manager James McKenna said that a meeting would have to be held by June 14. The Council voted by a 7-2 margin to convene at a special meeting on June 12 to vote on the town budget.