Impossible to Cut Spending?

Helen Hartshorn is running for reelection to the Budget Committee. At last week’s Candidates’ Night, she said:

A couple of years ago, we did talk on the Budget Committee . . . about keeping the spending flat, and it just didn’t work, because with inflation, with salary increases… Then there was also the salary consultation that was done. It just didn’t work to keep these things flat. And I just don’t think that’s a realistic approach to it.

Tyler Philips, a former member of the budget committee, asked: “Are you committed to controlling those costs that are controllable?” Many costs are not within the control of the town, given that “we get more and more costs pushed at us from Concord,” he noted. “But would you be agreeable to keeping a cap on controllable costs?”

I added to his question, by asking: “What are the controllable costs?”

Helen replied: “That’s just too broad a question.”

I tried again: “Can you name an area in which we do have controllable costs where you would be willing to make them level?”

Helen: “I will work to keep things as reasonable as possible, and that’s about all I can pledge you.”

I emailed Helen today to ask her again, “What are the controllable costs, the areas where the town can keep spending level or even reduce spending?”

If she replies and gives me permission to post her words, I will share them with you.

Candidates Night February 20, 2018

Timestamps available:

0:03:15 Candidates for uncontested positions
0:05:45 Candidates for Budget Committee
0:31:13 Candidates for Board of Selectman