December 11, 2012 Strategic Budget Committee

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December 11, 2012 Strategic Budget Committee

Postby Mary Wright » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:25 am

STRATEGIC BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2012

A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee was held on Tuesday, December 11, 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), John Bombara, Mike Hughes, Cortney Keegan, Nancy Lane, Gina Muscatell, Ray Whitehead, Scott Yacino, Michael Guzinski, Jeanne Lovett
ABSENT: Todd Bari, Pamela Holmes

1. Review and Discuss Preliminary Budget Proposals from all Departments.
Mr. Bonin welcomed the public to the meeting. Mr. Guzinski asked Chief Foley of the Police Dept., Chief Vinson of the Fire Dept. and Mr. John Furno of the Highway Dept. to come in tonight to talk about the impact to their department budgets over the last five years. He gave a brief update as to where the committee is on the process. The committee has developed draft operational budgets for FY14 based on the current projected revenues. He summarized the changes in the budget from FY13 to FY14.
Ms. Lane spoke about the impacts to the school department. For example, 17.4 professionals have been cut over the last two years. She stated that at this point, athletics and the arts would now be affected. Mr. Yacino spoke further about what is at stake.
Mr. John Furno joined the meeting and reviewed the Highway Dept. budget timeline –where they were and where they are now. The Snow & Ice Budget and road maintenance were discussed.
Chief Foley presented the impacts to the Police Dept. going back four years. Chief Foley reiterated the importance of public safety. There will be a retirement in FY14 that will not be filled. He spoke about the condition of the cruisers. Mr. Bonin asked about switching to 12-hour shifts to save on overtime costs.
Chief Vinson spoke about call volume, staffing, the man-study report done four years ago and the aging fleet. He feels his department is at the breaking point and public safety and firefighters could be at risk.

2. Discuss Revenue Options for FY14: Permits, fees and Prop. 2.5 override.
Mr. Bonin stated that the town is at a $1.85 million shortfall. Mr. Guzinski stated that on the municipal side, even doubling fees would not address the scope of what they are looking at. Permits and fees were reviewed in the last year and they will continue that work. Ms. Lovett said the largest component of the local receipts is motor vehicle excise. The largest fee is the building. That fee was updated last January.
A discussion was held regarding a Prop. 2.5 override. Mr. Yacino compared Douglas’ average tax bill to other surrounding towns. Douglas’ tax rate is currently much lower than surrounding towns. He feels it would be worthwhile to see how much additional revenue would be brought in if Douglas’ tax rate were brought up to the average tax rate of the surrounding towns. Mr. Bombara is not supportive of an override. A discussion was held.

3. Discuss and Vote upon Budget Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2014.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the committee needs to decide if the budgetary conditions warrant taking some action on increasing revenues for next year. Mr. Yacino reiterated that he would like to see how much additional revenue would be brought in if Douglas’ tax rate were brought up to the average rate of the surrounding towns. Mr. Guzinski stated that they do not yet have the figures for FY13 and they would need to contact surrounding towns for their information. Ms. Brouillette suggested using the numbers from FY12. A discussion was held. It was decided that the committee was not yet ready to come up with a number.
It was the consensus of the committee that a Proposition 2.5 override is a question that the voters deserve to be asked.

4. On the Table
For the next meeting, Mr. Guzinski will contact surrounding towns to get their FY13 average single-family tax bill and find out if they used exclusions for their school building projects. Mr. Bombara is not supportive of comparing Douglas’ tax rate to those of surrounding towns. Mr. Yacino stated that the information would let them know if Douglas is in line with what other towns are doing and what it is costing them.
Mr. Guzinski stated that if the committee were looking to have a vote on an override prior to May, the Board of Selectmen would need to make a decision during the month of February. It is Ms. Lovett’s suggestion to have an override vote prior to town meeting. The next meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee will be January 7, 2013.
Donna Taylor, 36 Arch Street spoke in favor of the override in order to support the services that exist in Douglas.

5. Old/New Business
There was no old or new business to discuss.

6. Approve Minutes: October 9, 2012 and October 23, 2012
Mr. Hughes made a motion to approve the October 9, 2012 minutes of the Strategic Budget Committee as presented. Mr. Yacino seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Mr. Yacino made a motion to approve the October 23, 2012 minutes of the Strategic Budget Committee as presented. Mr. Hughes seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

7. Adjournment
Mr. Hughes made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 PM. Mr. Yacino seconded the motion. Vote-Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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