For Melrose, The Next Round Of Cuts Will Be Visible

House leaders' efforts to deal with next year's budget deficit are largely focused on local aid cuts. The House plan slashes a quarter of the state money that cities and towns currently get for services other than schools.

Melrose has a lively Main Street, with an old brick YMCA amid bustling restaurants. On Wednesday night, residents walking there, including John Donovan, didn't seem to think that the economy has hurt town services.

"I think Melrose has done a great job," Donovan says. "I don't think there's been any budget cuts from the standpoint of the schools, police, fire — so no, no complaints."

That's because Melrose was able to weather this year's $1.6 million in budget cuts by putting city employees on the state's health insurance plan and by cutting all departments' budgets by just 5 percent. Now, the mayor of Melrose, Rob Dolan, faces another $1.6 million budget cut.

"When you talk about another $1.6 million," Mayor Dolan explains, "that's where I have to sit down with my CFO and I have to be the ultimate arbiter of what's more important: A school nurse in every school — where's there's diabetics and children with health conditions that were really unthought of when we were children — or keeping a library, which has the greatest use during a bad economy, open in the evenings."

Or crossing guards or the drug-prevention program in the schools.

This program aired on April 16, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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Lisa Tobin Senior Podcast Producer
Lisa Tobin was formerly WBUR's senior podcast producer.



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