BERLIN - The Board of Finance looked back on the recent budget process Tuesday, a day after the $43.9 million education budget and $45.6 million general government budget were sent to referendum.
The discussion was sparked when Republican Finance Board Chairman Sam Lomaglio asked for greater “decorum” by members of the board.
“My philosophy is that if we disagree on the budget, we should discuss it on the Board of Finance,” said Lomaglio, “and if we have an opinion and share with the Town Council. … It should come through the chair and not Board of Finance members going out on their own, helping the council with cuts that we’ve already established.”
Lomaglio said he has received a video of Republican board member Sal Bordonaro meeting with Republican members of the Town Council before a council meeting on April 4.
The budgets were the topic of the council meeting. Mayor Mark Kaczynski had said before the meeting that he thinks the tax rate increase proposed by the finance board needs to be cut.
“It jeopardizes the ethics of the Board of Finance,” said Lomaglio of Bordonaro’s actions. He said the caucus was for the council and Bordonaro’s attendance made it an illegal meeting, which would have required minutes to be legal.
If Bordonaro disagreed with the budget, he should voted against it, not helped the council make cuts, Lomaglio said.
“I didn’t do the cuts,” said Bordonaro. He said he had showed up early at the council’s meeting and wanted to say hello to the Republican councilors who were caucusing.
Lomaglio said it was a “perception thing.”
Bordonaro said it wouldn’t happen again, but also said he had heard Lomaglio talking about a breach of ethics in public. Bordonaro said defamatory statements were made about him.
“I think this goes across the board,” said Bordonaro. “There has to be professionalism and respect on everyone’s part.”
Finance board member Mark Holmes asked Bordonaro if he was a member of the Republican Town Council or the Board of Finance after Bordonaro had abstained from the vote on the budgets the night before.
That night, the council and finance board met after the council had rejected the proposed budgets on April 4 with an informal agreement with the board that $1.1 million of over $2 million would be moved to bonding.
“You can’t possibly look me in the eye and say, from a business perspective, that is the right thing to do, you can’t. It’s the wrong thing to do,” said Holmes Tuesday.
Lomaglio said the agreement wasn’t official and needed the numbers looked at. After running the numbers, members of the finance board Monday said moving the items to bonding was not a good idea, and echoed those sentiments Tuesday.
“I’m a member of the Board of Finance,” said Bordonaro, adding that he had abstained because he thought the agreement between the council and finance board should have been honored.
Holmes then backed off and Lomaglio said, “Let’s put this behind us and work as a team.”
The group then discussed starting the budget process earlier, adding members of the council to the town’s Capital Committee – to which Holmes had been added earlier in the meeting - so both parties are more involved and familiar with the budgets.
They also discussed establishing clearer lines of communication with the council.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.