Officials React to Gatsas Budget Proposal

MANCHESTER, NH  February 19, 2013 at 11:00 PM.

“He did what he had to do to meet the cap,” said Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig.  “And you know how I feel about the cap,” he concluded.  Ludwig is not a fan of the cap.

“I think he did the best he could under the circumstances,” said Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig.  Craig, who led the aldermen in adjusting the mayor’s budget proposal, said she simply wanted time to review what the mayor presented before commenting.

Ward 11 Alderman Norm Gamache said the proposal looked alright at first blush, but said it all depended on the schools.  Asked whether or not he’d be inclined to override the tax cap, he responded “No, I don’t think so.”  When asked whether or not he thought the teachers should make concessions in their contract he said he said yes.  “The other city unions did,” he said.

Ward 6 Alderman Garth Corriveau reserved judgement on Mayor Ted Gatsas’ budget proposal, saying he wanted time to review the proposal.  However, he approved of Gatsas’ proposal to spend $2.8 million to upgrade school technology, telephone and intercom systems.  “I do like that,” he said when asked about it.  “I think that’s the big news of the night.”

Ward 9 School Committeeman Arthur Beaudry was effusive in his praise of the mayor’s proposal to bond $2.8 million to rebuild the technology infrastructure of the city’s schools and upgrade the phone and intercom systems.  “It looks like the mayor’s been listening to what the needs of the schools are for technology,” he said.  “His proposal looksl like it comes right out of the district’s master plan for IT.  I’ve been pushing for this for years.”  Beaudry did say there were many questions about the mayor’s proposal, such as how he arrived at the figures and the details of implementation.

Beaudry, the chairman of the school board’s IT Committee, said he was prepared to support it the night it was brought before the Board of School Committee, provide the questions he has about its implementation are satisfactorily answered.  “I’m very happy the mayor brought the proposal forward,” he said “but I want to know how it’s going to work before I rush into anything.”  He said he wanted to avoid getting into the same situation the city’s gotten into with respect to the conversion of its IT systems.  “They rushed into it and it’s costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars now.  I don’t want to see that happen here.”

A public hearing was tentatively on the books for March 4th, until Alderman Craig succeeded in passing a motion to relocate the hearing to Memorial High School.  City Clerk Matthew Normand said he’d have to check with the school to see what their schedule would accommodate and said, in response to a question, that it would cost the city $2,000 to hold the hearing there.