NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 8, 2012

Newbury picks up after override loss

Officials vow to maintain services in wake of defeat

(Continued)

Town Administrator Tracy Blais said she is disappointed not to be able to provide the same level of essential services residents have received in the past, but said she has “a great deal of confidence” in her department managers.

“I know they will continue to work hard to provide the best services with the resources that have been allocated,” Blais said.

Myfawny Collins of Newbury Override Yes said her group wanted town employees to know that despite the result, “there are many, many people who support them in the work they do and who are grateful for their dedication to Newbury.” Collins said she was inspired by the community spirit generated during the campaign and was hopeful “we will all keep the positive energy going forward.”

Saying “the town has spoken,” police Chief Michael Reilly said his department will “strive to provide the best possible police services with the resources allotted.” He plans to continue monthly assessments “and adjust services and personnel as necessary to stay within our means.”

Bulgaris, a former longtime president of Fire Protection 1 Company in Byfield, said he was still very concerned about the lack of resources for public safety and described police and fire departments as operating in “devastation mode.”

“We’re at the point now that we’re just hoping nothing happens,” the selectman said. He vowed to find ways to incrementally increase spending for public safety over the next few budget cycles.

Max Boucher of the anti-override group, Newbury Austerity, pointed to the town’s $959,003 free cash account as a possible resource. Boucher said Tuesday’s vote showed that taxpayers were keeping town leaders “under tremendous pressure, so we’ll get the very best out of them and our million-dollar reserve.”

Blais, however, has strongly advised against using one-time reserves, such as free cash, to fund ongoing operating expenses.

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