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Clark's 2010 goals outlined

Council, manager begin financial plans

Christopher Clark (click for larger version)
October 26, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — After a short discussion and no surprises, the Town Council unanimously defined the Town Manager Chris Clark's goals for next year.

Most of them were easily predictable — craft a fiscal 2011 budget and updated capital plan, continue the process of selling water to Charlton, engage the police and DPW unions in negotiation, work on the ongoing school project and develop promotional materials for Southbridge.

"I think these are achievable and obtainable within the next fiscal year, and I'd feel comfortable with this as my work list," Clark said.

Of course, the state's melting economy could throw a wrench into one or several of these plans. As Councilor Al Vecchia noted, more local aid cuts are likely in the near future with the governor's recent announcement the state's $600 million in deficit. Furthermore, the state's budget office already expects next year to be fiscally tight.

"If those cuts come in, I do have meetings scheduled for as early as next week to begin establishing the tax rate … but these are exceptionally difficult fiscal times," Clark observed. He added he's "committed to trying to accomplish [keeping taxes low] to the best of my ability."

Vecchia praised him for starting the process of changing the town's insurance policies, even though that drew some fire from residents last week. Clark said he formally informed the unions and retirees of his plan late last week and scheduled an Insurance Advisory Committee meeting for later this week, "so the ball's in their court."

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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