Most full-time town employees are represented by unions (and most of the rest have contracts that mirror union agreements), and those contracts provide for annual raises. Those raises do account for most of the police budget increase. You can see all the details here: https://montague-ma....Y21_Budget_File.xlsx (look for the "211 Police" tab. You can also find the details on all the other budgets, along with a lot of other information (this is the main file used by the finance committee in its budget deliberations). This file is found on the town's web site here: https://montague-ma.gov/p/374/, along with a bunch of other useful files.
IMHO, simple budget reductions (or increases) are a heavy-handed way of changing how departments operate. Ideally, they would come at the end of a process, not the beginning. In this case, I think it's clear that a lot of town meeting members would like to see changes in how policing is done in Montague; however, it was a close vote, so it wasn't an overwhelming mandate for change.
Instead, I see it as a mandate (opportunity) for town leaders and community members to begin substantive conversations about policing in Montague could or should be different. The success (or not) of that effort will depend (as so many efforts do) on who is willing to step up and be part of that process.
Website (c)1999-2022, Montague WebWorks. MontagueMA.net has been online since October 1999. For more information contact MikCommunity Corkboard software 1999-(c)2022 Montague WebWorks