WESTBROOK – The Board of Finance has scheduled a special meeting on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mulvey Municipal Center to further discuss appropriating additional legal funds after the first half of the fiscal year is estimated to cost over $56,000.
As of Jan. 12, Board of Finance Chairman Paul Connelly said that the $25,000 Town Counsel Legal account now has $1,503.63 left, the $2,000 Litigation Services Account has $1,975 left, and the $8,175 Special Outside Council Account has $2,300 left.
As of the end of November, the $25,000 Labor Account had $1,443.50 left and Connelly predicts December bills would cost $3,400 putting the account in the red.
Statements from the town’s labor attorney, Shipman and Goodwin, indicate that funds were primarily used for labor negotiations with town employees and constables.
Funds were also used to facilitate the process of converting the town’s landfill into a transfer station, and the land swap between the town and the state Department of Transportation.
Connelly believes $14,000 of the bills were for services received by the town in the 2005-06 fiscal year and if the estimate is true, it would allow $7,600 to be left in this fiscal year’s Labor account.
It is not unusual for a town to spend money for services received in a previous fiscal year, Connelly said.
The Board of Finance asked the Board of Selectmen for an estimate of how much more should be appropriated to its legal accounts to finish the fiscal year on June 30.
First Selectman John Raffa told the Board at its Jan. 17 meeting that he needs $19,500 despite a combined estimate of just under $50,000 by the town’s attorneys.
Town Attorney John Weber estimated it would bill the town between $10,000 and $12,500 while the town’s labor attorney, Shipman and Goodwin gave a $35,000 estimate.
Raffa’s request was rejected by the Board of Finance, Connelly said, because “it didn’t seem like a reasonable number for what was needed to finish the year,”
Connecticut State Statues limit a municipality’s Board of Finance to making a reallocation of $20,000 and limits the Board from reallocating money to an account to only once during a fiscal year.
If more than $20,000 is required for appropriation or the Board of Finance allocates money to an account more than once, a town meeting is required.
“The intent is to get the best estimate on costs for the town attorney and labor attorney,” Connelly said, adding that he believes there will be a town meeting before July to allocate more funds to the legal accounts.