October 23, 2012 Strategic Budget Committee

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October 23, 2012 Strategic Budget Committee

Postby Mary Wright » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:24 am

STRATEGIC BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2012

A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee was held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Mr. Bonin called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at the Douglas Municipal Center.

ATTENDANCE
PRESENT: Tim Bonin (Chairman) Paula Brouillette (Vice-Chair), Pamela Holmes, Mike Hughes, Cortney Keegan, Nancy Lane, Gina Muscatell, Ray Whitehead, Scott Yacino, Michael Guzinski, Jeanne Lovett
ABSENT: Todd Bari, John Bombara

1. Review Fiscal Year 2014 Projected Revenues/Expenditures, and
2. Discuss Operational Impacts in Fiscal Year 2014 Based Upon Current Revenue Projections
Ms. Brouillette requested moving agenda items 1 & 2 forward. Ms. Lovett and Mr. Guzinski presented a budget summary current up to October 9, and a projection of what FY14 revenues would be. Ms. Lovett presented FY14 Revenue Projection and Departmental Request. She does not have the governor’s numbers. The total increase in revenues is estimated to be $214,926. Ms. Lovett reviewed each line in Operating Expenses. The town is left with a budget variance of $1,901,052, which is the difference between the available revenues and the departmental budget requests.
Mr. Guzinski reviewed FY14 Budgetary Change, with and without a $1 million override. Ms. Lovett spoke about OPEB (Other Post Employee Benefits). This is currently not funded, which is becoming an audit issue for the town. Ms. Brouillette summarized the presentation: effectively, education and municipal departments would be going on a flat budget from FY13. Ms. Lovett reiterated that the numbers are fluid.

3. Discuss Other Revenue Options for Fiscal Year 2014
A $1 million override would increase taxes by an estimated $300-400/year for the average homeowner. Ms. Holmes asked Mr. Guzinski for a tax rate comparison of Douglas to surrounding communities. A discussion was held regarding a tax override and where that cash would be applied. Mr. Guzinski feels capital needs a pressing cash inflow. Mr. Yacino spoke in favor of OPEB. Ms. Lovett said that Worcester County Retirement could come in and give a presentation.
It was discussed whether or not a $1 million tax override would fix the problem. Ms. Brouillette spoke in favor of commercial property development. Douglas has commercial acreage, but that acreage does not have much frontage. She spoke about putting in roads so that land can be subdivided and accessed. She mentioned that the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce has received funding to initialize a regional economic commission. Ms. Lovett will ask the Dept. of Revenue if Douglas can postpone the revaluation for one year.
Development of the Old Grammar School was discussed.
Ms. Lane asked for a fact sheet as to what an override and consequences of no override would look like to the taxpayer, as was done for the school vote, for the next meeting. Ms. Brouillette asked that information on capital needs be included on this spreadsheet. Ms. Holmes shared a spreadsheet comparing tax information for surrounding towns. Mr. Guzinski will email the committee the link to the Division of Local Services. Mr. Bonin feels that the solution has to be addressed by cuts and revenues. The committee was in consensus. Mr. Bonin upholds that the decision should go to the town and a long-term plan is still needed.
Ms. Lovett feels it is important that people are educated and understand impacts. She would like to have a working group. Mr. Whitehead, Ms. Lane, Ms. Keegan and Ms. Holmes agreed to meet with Ms. Lovett and Mr. Guzinski on Monday.
Ms. Holmes would like to invite the state into this process to explain the changes in state aid. She suggested inviting selectmen and chairpersons from other towns in the Blackstone Valley. Mr. Guzinski will reach out to the state senator and state representative.

4. Discuss Timeline
The next meetings will be November 14 and November 27, 2012. By December 4, 2012 the committee should have a recommendation of what FY14 would look like, from a revenue perspective.

5. Old/New Business
Old Business: Ms. Brouillette is concerned about addressing the public without having any information as to what the solution may be. Mr. Yacino agreed and cautioned Mr. Bonin to avoid misconceptions. Mr. Bonin stated that he made a promise to the seniors to meet with them and he will not be providing specifics. The committee agrees that feedback from the public is useful. They just want to be unified in their decisions and be closer to having answers.

5. Adjournment
Ms. Brouillette made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 PM. Mr. Hughes seconded the motion. Vote-Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
 
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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