Barrington municipal budget calls for two new positions

Town’s total budget nears $100 million

Posted 3/20/24

In what could be the last financial town meeting ever in Barrington, residents will be asked to approve a $65.8 million school budget, a $21.8 million municipal budget, and a $5 million bond.

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Barrington municipal budget calls for two new positions

Town’s total budget nears $100 million


In what could be the last financial town meeting ever in Barrington, residents will be asked to approve a $65.8 million school budget, a $21.8 million municipal budget, and a $5 million bond.

Combined with the two proposed capital budgets and debt service payments on previous expenditures, the town’s total budget is nearly $100 million. 

The municipal budget reflects a 4.7 percent increase, while the school department budget is a 4 percent increase. 

The Town Manager’s proposed budget includes some new positions — a new full-time IT coordinator and a new assistant superintendent at the Barrington Department of Public Works. 

DPW workforce numbers

The new DPW assistant superintendent would have a salary of $95,000, and benefits totaling more than $35,000. 

“The assistant superintendent will take on responsibilities for the overall operation of DPW,” Hervey wrote, “including a more direct focus on management of the sewer division. This will free up the Public Works Superintendent to provide greater oversight of a crew of approximately eight workers that will primarily be responsible for field maintenance, and completion of field upgrades that can be done in-house.”

The municipal budget references the fields report completed by a consultant and how it called for two additional workers at the DPW.

“Additional workers are needed, but for the town’s field maintenance program to be effective and responsive… it is essential to first provide additional supervisory capacity for DPW to implement a more focused maintenance program,” Hervey wrote. 

“Currently DPW has just two positions supervising 29 union employees — the Public Works Director, and the Public Works Superintendent.”

In the early 2000s, the Barrington Department of Public Works had a crew of 30 union workers and two supervisors. In 2010, the town privatized trash and recycling pickup and reduced the DPW workforce from 30 union workers to 22. 

But in the last 14 years, the town has steadily increased the number of workers at the DPW. 

Currently, the Department of Public Works has four non-union employees (a director, a superintendent, an engineer, and a senior administrative assistant), 24 union employees and another four union workers in the sewer division, for a total workforce of 32 employees. 

The proposed municipal budget includes $1,299,589 for the annual contract with Mega Disposal, which handles the trash and recycling collection in Barrington. 

IT help

The IT coordinator position includes a budgeted salary of $90,000. 

“We may consider a starting salary above $90,000 depending on the experience … of the preferred candidate,” Barrington Town Manager Phil Hervey wrote in the budget narrative. 

A survey conducted by the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns showed a range of municipal IT director salaries, from $83,208 (North Providence) to $146,527 (Pawtucket). 

Hervey said a recent assessment of the town’s computer operations by an IT consultant showed the need for the position. 

“The IT director would be tasked with ‘all things IT,’ including managing an IT budget, developing an implementing an IT hardware replacement plan, managing the network printers, updating vendor contracts, reviewing vendors’ data privacy policies, maintaining the town’s cybersecurity posture, handling upgrades to the town’s website, aligning software vendors including those providing antivirus protections, and providing end user training,” Hervey wrote. 

$5 million bond

Hervey initially proposed a $3.5 million bond to pay for athletic field improvements and a culvert repair project, but that figured shifted to $5 million at the Town Council meeting in early March. 

During that meeting, Councilors passed a motion for a $5 million municipal bond — $500,000 of the bond will be used for a road culvert project in Bay Spring, while the balance will be dedicated to improving the town’s athletic fields. 

They also passed a second motion calling for the Barrington Middle School synthetic turf proposal to be shared with the Barrington School Committee and potentially be included on the November election ballot as a referendum question for residents to vote on. 

Council member Rob Humm has been a driving force for improving the town’s athletic fields. He said the synthetic turf fields will solve the long-running problems Barrington has had — the turf fields will take the stress off the natural grass fields in town that are over-whelmed. 

Slight change

During the Town Council’s review of the proposed municipal budget, Kate Berard suggested the school department’s credit to the DPW — an amount related to the work the DPW does maintaining the school department grounds — be increased to 30 percent. Initially, officials had recommended that the school credit increase from $285,129 to $299,384. Berard made a motion to increase it to $370,668. The motion passed unanimously. 

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