FAQ About the Town FY2018 Override Budget

(Sticky Post) Published April 19, 2017 | Finance Department | Automatically Archived on 5/10/2017

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Town Manager Press Release Header FullFAQ About the Town Override Budget

1.  What is it?

As reflected in the Town’s Preliminary Budget book, the override represents the costs affiliated with:
4 additional Fire fighters (Bringing staffing to 36, or nine per shift)
1 additional police officer (Bring staffing to 29)

2.  What will it cost?

The total cost of the override is $494,833

Fire represents $427,000
Police represents $67,764

3.  Why do we need it?

The Town of Sudbury needs to commit to running a second ambulance all the time. In order to do that, we need staffing 24 hours a day of 8-9 employees. In order to accomplish that staffing, we need to increase Fire staffing by four employees. This increase in staffing across the different shifts will allow us to staff a second ambulance for increased and better service to Sudbury residents.

As you know, we currently average using mutual aid for ambulance transports 62 times a year. Not only are we placing the burden on our surrounding communities, but we are creating longer wait times for Sudbury residents who may be waiting for ambulances from as far as Framingham.

We have several new developments on the horizon and we need to begin to prepare for those developments. When these developments begin to open next year, we will see a dramatic increase in population and a dramatic increase in calls for service for both fire and police based on data and experience.

It is critical that we address these needs now.

It is also important to remember that the police are responding to calls at the same frequency as the fire department. Police response is typically different than of the fire department in that officers remain in their respective sectors awaiting an assignment while being proactive in addressing concerns of residents. Police units respond to vast majority of calls the fire department responds to in addition to calls for service relative to police matters. We currently have three geographic sectors; east, west and north. Preferably, we would have two north sector assignments to ensure a prompt response. Understanding the financial limitations, we are not looking to add personnel to accomplish this, just to regain a position previously cut.

Community policing within the entire community remains a priority, particularly with our youth. Officer Hutchinson has made great strides with establishing relationships with our students but he often does not find enough time to expand those relationships within all the schools. In addition to Officer Hutchinson’s presence, we try to have other officers engage our students as well but that takes them from their sectors.

Relationships are extremely important, but there are increasing challenges facing our students on multiple fronts. One of which, technology, while an asset, can be used as a weapon too. The need to educate both students and parents regarding the dangers technology can present and to investigate inappropriate activity has increased greatly in the past few years.

With residents approval, regaining the twenty-ninth position previously held, we would be in a position to continue our commitment to community policing while allowing for flexibility to address ever-changing challenges presented to us.

Despite increases in population, we are budgeted for less police officers than we were in 2008 and have the same number of fire fighters that we had in 1978.

4.  Why is the overtime so high?

Once we make a commitment to the Town to run the second ambulance, there are costs affiliated with that. These four additional employees will need to take vacation, holiday, and sick time as well as attend fire and medical based training. This overtime is not only for these four employees, but more critically will enable the department to make certain that two ambulances are available to service Sudbury. The overtime is used maintain the staffing levels of 8 or 9 per crew in order to run both ambulances.

5.  Why didn’t we account for additional benefits?

Several reasons, when we created the budget and today, the rates are not yet set. We continue to see employees leaving our insurance to opt out. We continue to see new employees not always opting for our insurance. With all of those scenarios, we made a deliberate decision to wait and see in order to not unnecessarily create a bloated budget.

6.  How many ambulances do we have and how many ambulances will we need?

Today, we have two ambulances, a 2015 and a 2008 model On Friday, February 10, 2017, our new 2016 ambulance will arrive and we will trade in our old 2008 ambulance. We will continue to have two ambulances. It would be ideal for us to purchase a third ambulance in order to make certain that we can always have two available for emergency responses. We would likely ask for a new ambulance in FY19. We would hope to be able to fund a large portion of the purchase of a third ambulance from ambulance receipts.