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Zoning Budgets Get Creative

Director of Planning and Zoning Laurence Bradley is doing some creative number juggling to keep Planning and Zoning and the Zoning Board of Appeals financially afloat. Instead of asking for a restoration of the $60,800 cut by the Board of Finance, he is working around a staff vacancy and banking on some transfers after the budget passes.

“They didn't tell me who to cut or what to cut, just to cut $60,000 from the salary line item,” Bradley explained to the RTM Planning and Zoning Committee, April 26. He was also ordered to cut $800 in supplies and miscellaneous expenses from the ZBA budget.

In response, Bradley developed a plan to shift the P&Z budget up by $29,000 while dropping the ZBA budget by $30,772. The shift would leave only two line items in the ZBA budget, $24,400 for half a salary and a $2,000 reserve for processing fees passed on to the state. All of the supplies and minor items would be taken up by the P&Z budget.

P&Z has been approved for a $486,553 budget while ZBA is set for $57,212. The operating budget has P&Z at $545,043 and ZBA at $59,766.

The half salary would be matched by money in the P&Z budget to fund a staffer that might otherwise have needed to be cut. That person will absorb the duties of the ZBA clerk along with regular P&Z work. The ZBA's clerk position would effectively cease to exist as a separate entity. Bradley expects one department employee out on disability won't return or be replaced, which gives him the wiggle room to shift positions and work with the financial constraints.

To make the juggling work, Bradley will need to seek a fund transfer after the start of the fiscal year. By avoiding a restoration request, Bradley hopes the RTM will be amenable to his plan.

He said, “It's not really a restoration. It's a reshuffling of budgets.”

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