"We have a math problem in the town, much like other towns" said Koetzle. "The revenues aren't there to support the expenses and we have to make some of these hard choices. We have to make the choices where they are going to have the least service impact and that's what this budget I believe does."
One area Koetzle is hoping to find savings is through union concessions. Final negotiations on a contract with unions would have to be reached by the approaching Nov. 3 deadline.
" I am very hopeful, but time is not our friend right now," said Koetzle after the meeting. "There has been a give and take. Every time that happens it has to be evaluated and has to be looked at and it has to be something that is affordable and makes sense."
There was a meeting with two of three unions and town officials on Monday, Oct. 18, said Koetzle during the meeting. The unions were provided with the current information on 2011 rates and options. Also, the different actions and alternatives the town has looked at in health insurance were discussed. Town Attorney Michael Cuevas and Town Director of Operations James MacFarland were present on behalf of the town at the meeting, said Koetzle.
"It was a productive meeting and going forward hopefully we will bear some fruit of that meeting," said Koetzle.
Union contracts have been expired for nearly two years in the town and unions haven't seen a pay raise for a similar amount of time. Koetzle said if unions are able to negotiate concessions with the town then he plans to provide them with raises.
"My hope is that we are going to be able to achieve some savings in the budget, still provide the unions with some raises and still provide the tax payers with some relief," said Koetzle after the meeting.
With state mandated costs increasing, Koetzle said union concessions on health insurance is one way the town can realize savings. Health insurance premiums are expected to rise by 15 percent for 2011, which totals an additional $275,000 in expenses.
"That line (health insurance) is the only place we are going to achieve the savings we need and that line is blowing up faster than every other line," said Koetzle.""