BOS - April 3, 2012

BOS - April 3, 2012

Postby Suzanne Kane » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:57 am

Board of Selectmen
Agenda
April 3, 2012


7:00 pm

• Call to Order
• Chairman’s Announcements
• Citizen’s Forum

1. Ambulance Billing – Chief Vinson

2. Annual Appointment’s Review

3. Approve & Sign Annual & Special Town Meeting Warrants

4. School Building Project Update – Grant of Easement

5. Minutes: March 20, 2012

6. Administrator’s Report

7. Old/New Business

8. Adjournment
_______________________________________________________________________
Future Agenda Items:

April 10th:
Workshop –Personnel Board, Government Study Report

April 17th: Tri-State Trek Approval

TBD: Tax Title Agreement Policy; Update Master Plan/Housing Authority; Meeting w/Webster;
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF SELECTMEN
MEETING MINUTES
April 3, 2012
Approved April 17, 2012


• Call to Order
Mr. Bonin called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM in the Resource Room of the Municipal Center.

ATTENDANCE:
Board: Tim Bonin (Chairman), Mitch Cohen, Hal Davis, Mike Hughes (Vice Chairman-absent), Jeffrey LaPorte, Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Suzanne Kane (Administrative Assistant).
Other Staff and Citizens: Fire Chief Kent Vinson

• Chairman’s Announcements (00:12)
Mr. Bonin thanked the Town citizens that came to the first “Talk with Tim.” He appreciates citizen involvement. He has pledged to do this again.

• Citizen’s Forum (00:33)
No citizens came forward.

1. Ambulance Billing (00:37)
In the agenda is a letter from Chief Kent Vinson dated March 15, 2012 and information regarding Coastal Medical Billing, Inc.
Fire Chief Kent Vinson joined the meeting to present his idea to bring in a company to do the ambulance billing. Since they went to the paramedic level last July, they can now charge more for their ambulance calls. However, he is concerned with their collection rate, which has been 70% for the past couple of years. The administrative assistant who currently does their billing is not certified.
Chief Vinson went out and got quotes from three billing companies and the lowest quote was for 4.5% from Coastal Billing in Manchaug. They have been in the ambulance billing business for about 15 years. Uxbridge, Northbridge and Webster use their services. Their average collection rate is on average, 91.3%. All of their billing is done electronically, so the turnaround is faster.
Chief Vinson presented some numbers to use for example. If the average bill at paramedic level is $1,000 and they transport 600 people to the hospital, that would be $600,000 in billable expenses. If they collect at their current rate of 70%, $420,000 would be posted. If they went with a billing company and collected 91%, they would increase their collections by $126,000 to post $546,000. They would also save on the cost of letters and postage.
The billing company would bill 4.5% based on what they collect. If they collected $500,000, the cost for billing would be $22,500. Coastal Billing offered an 18-month trial basis. With the increased demand on the office help, a billing company would lighten their load and increase revenues for the town.
Mr. Davis asked what are the reasons for the delinquencies. Chief Vinson responded that some are due to lack of insurance, the other is the time involved. A billing company would have one person assigned to their account for 40 hours/week. Their administrative assistant is pulled in a million different directions and cannot devote that much time to collections. Mr. Davis asked, if a bill goes uncollected, do they make a phone call or send a letter and is there any legal action. Mr. Vinson responded that they would set up how they wanted to do the collections with the company.
Chief Vinson stated how insurance billing laws are always changing and it is difficult for them to keep up with the changes. However, Coastal Billing is on the cusp of that and more able to keep current with the changes. They also have software that helps them to find people who have moved.
Mr. Cohen does not see any downside. He asked if Coastal Billing could be asked to take over existing receivables. Chief Vinson feels that could be something to be discussed with them. After the 18-month trial period, Chief Vinson believes a 30-60 day notice would be all that is required to terminate a working relationship with them.
Regarding this project going out to bid, Mr. Guzinski stated that a one-year trial with Coastal Billing would be less than $2,500, therefore what Chief Vinson has done would be sufficient and the Board could go with the best proposal. Chief Vinson will ask if a one-year trial would be acceptable with Coastal. Mr. Cohen feels it makes sense to receive written proposals from other companies. Mr. Bonin feels that 4.5% is a little high and he agrees with Mr. Cohen to let the marketplace determine the rate.
Mr. Guzinski said the purpose today was to see if the Board is interested in having a proposal for this brought before them at the next meeting. Mr. Guzinski agrees with the Chief in that it would be straightforward savings for the Town.
Mr. Davis asked if there is other billing that the Town does that would fit into a situation like this. Mr. Guzinski will speak with the Water/Sewer Systems Manager to ask him to talk with other Towns to see if they use a billing company.
Mr. Bonin asked who would be liable in a Medicare or Medicaid audit. Chief Vinson feels we would be better off with Coast Billing because they are certified with the National Academy of Ambulance Billing. They are HIPPA compliant.
Mr. Bonin feels the government would make them do this eventually. It would be good to go ahead now.
Mr. Cohen feels it makes sense to seek proposals from three places. Chief Vinson has already done three phone quotes.
Mr. Guzinski feels it would be a 12-month process. He will see if there is an exemption for billing. If not, they will be limited to 12 months. $25,000 is the trigger point. A proposal will be available for the next meeting.
Mr. Bonin asked Chief Vinson if his system were able to separate out the reimbursable costs associated with calls to Wallum Lake Park. Chief Vinson feels that may be cumbersome to do. He can investigate it. He thinks there have been maybe 30 calls over two years. Mr. Bonin would be interested in the reimbursable rate from those calls as he builds a case with DCR. The Town is left entirely exposed when the ambulance is called to the state park.
Mr. Cohen feels that with a company tracking the billing, it may be easier to track the calls to the state park so they can let DCR know the costs for those services.
The Board congratulated Chief Vinson for his department’s work at the fire last Monday on Eagle Drive.

2. Annual Appointments (35:33)
In the agenda is a list of Board of Selectmen Annual Appointments.
Ms. Kane presented a list of all the annual appointments. The terms are up this July. She will be sending letters to everyone to ask if they wish to be considered for reappointment. She will do up a new list once she has heard from everyone. If the Board wishes to interview anyone, she will contact them and try to schedule them for the first meeting in June, leaving the second meeting open for any follow-up. All the openings are on the website, on Channel 11 and on the bulletin board down the hall.

3. Approve and Sign Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting Warrants (36:52)
In the agenda are the Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrants.
Mr. Guzinski said the warrants have been finalized and Ms. Kane has copies for the Board to sign this evening. They have been approved by Town Counsel. There have been a few minor changes since the last meeting. Mr. Guzinski met with the Finance Committee last night, and he reiterated that he recommends that the financial portion of the Town Meeting be deferred until June in order to get more information on revenues and to allow full consensus on the FY13 budget. He spoke to the Town Moderator this morning. The Finance Committee was receptive.
Changes to the Annual Town Meeting Warrant: Article 6: The Personnel Board did meet with the Finance Committee last night, and they are still working on finalizing the Personnel Classification Plan update. The final version is not on the warrant. Copies will be available prior to the Town Meeting.
Article 8: The Capital Improvement Committee (CIC) met last week to rate all the project requests for capital items. There are five items on the list. The primary school bathroom upgrade, $75,000: There are funds remaining in the high school project account, which can be used for this purpose. They need an appropriation at the Town Meeting so the funds can be transferred. The CIC recommended the project be funded with those funds. Due to the financial constraints the Town is facing, the only other funding source for the other projects would be the stabilization account. The CIC realizes that some of these items may not be able to be funded, but they wanted to present their top five projects in the article for consideration by the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee. The other four are listed in the order of ranking. If the financial portion of the Town Meeting is deferred until June, it does leave time for the budget to be looked at carefully to determine the financial ability of the Town to finance these projects.
Mr. Guzinski described the financial software that was requested by the Financial Offices. Mr. Guzinski could ask the Financial Director to come to a Board of Selectmen meeting to speak to them about it. Mr. Guzinski can get a copy of the information that was submitted to the CIC.
Mr. Cohen pointed out that another benefit to having a billing company do the ambulance billing and increase the collections, would be the ability for the ambulance department to pay back the stabilization fund faster, which was borrowed against to buy the new ambulance.
Article 9: A map has been added which outlines the area of Martin Road Park that would be looking to be leased for use by the Axmen Soccer.
On the Special Town Meeting Warrant there is only one article. Several budget line items are seeking transfers. The FICA account has been removed, but they have added a line item of Reserve Fund to have some funds for the Finance Committee to use at the end of the fiscal year. The Reserve Fund is now down to about $12,000. They have been able to add the actual dollar amounts to those items.
Mr. Cohen asked which article is for the funding for the water line loop. Mr. Guzinski stated that that is article 11. The funding for this will come out of the MBTE funds, which are currently in the stabilization account. The Town had received approximately $300,000 as a settlement, which can be used for any purpose. They expect the cost to be less than that. This would be part of the financial part of the Town Meeting. Mr. Cohen mentioned that this work should be done in coordination with when the contractor is doing the work on the water line extension on the school site. That may take place in August.
Mr. Bonin mentioned that he was in a meeting the other day and a member of the School Committee questioned the value of this water line loop. Mr. Bonin was under the impression that it was a public safety issue. He asked that the Board have further discussion about the necessity of this as the member felt strongly that it would not produce the desired result. Mr. Guzinski stated that the Fire Chief, the Building Inspector and the Water/Sewer Systems Manager felt strongly that it would have a high benefit to public safety and the water flow. He can arrange to have the Water/Sewer Systems Manager come to a meeting to have a discussion.

4. School Building Project Update and Grant of Easement (44:53)
In the agenda are a memo from Mr. Guzinski dated March 29, 2012, documentation relating to the easement, and a status report for the month of March.
The groundbreaking was this past weekend. There were over 150 people in attendance. Everything went well.
In the packet is a summary from the Owners Project Manager (OPM) for the month of March. The contract for the general construction was executed in the amount of $36,226,678, which included both alternate bids for the track surface and water line loop. A Notice to Proceed was issued March 2, 2012. CTA Construction commenced work on March 5, 2012 and phase I of this project is on schedule for occupancy of the elementary school in the fall of 2013. Over the last month, CTA has secured the entire perimeter of the site with a chain link fence. Powell Construction has mobilized their equipment, completed the installation of the erosion control system and commenced excavation beneath the elementary school building for placement of the foundations in early April.
There is one easement request for an underground electric distribution system to be installed at the school building site. It has been reviewed and approved by Town Counsel. Mr. Guzinski recommends the Board approve this easement as presented.
Mr. Bonin asked if there would be any value in running wires to the field. Mr. Cohen said that would be a different direction and the School Building Committee might be discussing this at their next meeting.
Mr. Cohen made a motion to approve the easement request as presented for an underground electric distribution system to be installed at the school building site. Mr. LaPorte seconded the motion. All-Aye.

5. Approval of the Minutes (55:04)
March 20, 2012: Mr. LaPorte made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 20, 2012 Board of Selectmen meeting as presented. Seconded by Mr. Davis. All - Aye. Mr. Bonin abstained.

6. Administrator’s Report (56:09)
In the agenda is a letter dated April 1, 2012 from the Governor’s Office.
Mr. Guzinski stated he received a letter yesterday from the Governor’s Office informing the Town that the Chapter 90 local transportation aid funding for FY13 has been provisionally approved and certified at $366,514. This amount is higher than was expected.
Mr. Guzinski has reached out to DCR in regards to their discussion with them, and they are working on their updated policies to assist with the issues with Wallum Lake State Park. Mr. Bonin would like to keep the pressure on them and put it on the April 17th, 2012 agenda. Mr. Guzinski will ask DCR to come in and meet with them at that time.
Mr. Davis asked if they should also invite a state representative and a senator. Mr. Cohen said it would be good to notify them. Mr. Bonin added that if they are going to invite them, they should also invite the Police Chief, Det. McLaughlin and the Environmental Police. Mr. Cohen said it depends on what DCR says. It was decided to check with DCR about getting their formal reply, invite a representative to come in to the April 17, 2012 meeting, notify the state representative and senator that they are coming in. If someone from DCR comes, ask the senator and representative to come in.

7. Old/New Business (64.23)
There was no Old Business to discuss.
New Business: Mr. LaPorte invited the Veterans to participate in the Memorial Day parade.

8. Adjournment (65:28)
Mr. Cohen made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 PM. Mr. LaPorte seconded the motion. All – Aye.

Respectfully submitted,


Mary Wright
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Suzanne Kane
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