2015-03-06 / Community News

Public forum on budget planned

Instead of holding a public hearing on the municipal budget, the town will host a town hall-style meeting in late April to give residents an opportunity to voice their concerns with the budget and get their questions answered by town officials.

Although logistics still have to be worked out, Town Council Finance Committee Chairman Shawn Babine said the meeting will “have a more relaxed format” than Board of Education or Town Council meeting.

The event, which is scheduled to take place April 29 at Scarborough High School, may be moderated by Kevin Freeman, the former president of Scarborough Economic Development Corporation who has moderated candidates night in the past or Rick Snow, president of the Scarborough Community Chamber of Commerce. The idea, Babine said, would be for residents to either ask questions from the floor or submit questions on cards. The answers to the questions will be written down and published online.

Babine said feedback about concerns may be sought ahead of time, to allow town and school staff to provide the best answers possible.

Nevertheless, Board of Education Finance Committee Chairman Chris Caiazzo said the intent is to answer questions and take comments as they arise.

“We will do the best we can to answer questions on site. That is the purpose,” he said.

Town Manager Tom Hall said the town hall-style meeting falls between the council’s first and second readings of the budget and will fulfill the public hearing requirement.

“It’s certainly not the conventional way, but that is not what we are striving for,” he said.

The public’s first view at both the town and school budgets is expected to take place Wednesday, April 1.

The Finance Committee meets next on Thursday, March 12 at 1:30 p.m. at town hall.

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