1 last budget hurdle to cross; Town meeting to weigh in on spending plan.

Byline: Paula J. Owen

ASHBURNHAM - The biggest hurdle is over, with the approval of a $250,000 Proposition 2-1/2 tax cap override Monday, but now voters must revote the budget for this fiscal year with the new money budgeted in it.

A special town meeting is scheduled for 7 tonight in the auditorium at Oakmont Regional High School. Baby-sitting will be available.

Voters will be asked to rescind the fiscal 2009 budget voted at annual town meeting in May and vote on a balanced budget that includes the money from the override, along with an increase to the school district's budget of $155,000.

"The vote at the ballot was fantastic and we are very grateful for that, but our work really isn't done yet for FY '09," Selectman Jonathan M. Dennehy said. "It's a two-step process. We need to bring the override money into the budget and appropriate it. The next step is just as important."

He said he is in favor of giving the school district the $155,000.

"I am in support of it," he said. "My only objection before is if we didn't have the money, I had a problem with pitting the town budget against the school district. The passage of the override cures that problem for me."

He said he was never against supporting the school district, but was worried about laying off one-third of town employees in the effort to "make the school district whole."

The override spared 14 town employees' jobs slated to be cut, including those of two police officers, a firefighter-paramedic and three Department of...

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