December 4, 2014 Strategic Budget Committee

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December 4, 2014 Strategic Budget Committee

Postby Mary Wright » Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:16 am


A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee was held on Thursday, December 4, 2014 in the Municipal Center. Ms. Brouillette called the meeting to order at 2:05 PM.

PRESENT: Paula Brouillette (Chair), Dave Cortese (Vice Chair), Pamela Holmes, Cortney Keegan, Nancy Spitulnik, Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director)
ABSENT: Melissa Morrison (Excused), Kevin Morse (Excused), Scott Yacino (Alternate-Excused)

1. Continue Discussion on the Charge of the Committee
It was the consensus of the committee that they are in agreement as to the task they have been assigned. Ms. Spitulnik stated that her last day is January 9, 2015. She assumes that the new superintendent will take over her position on this committee.

2. Discuss all Sources of Revenue and Revenue History
Ms. Lovett handed out a five-year revenue history. Mr. Guzinski reviewed Chapter 70 revenues. The largest loss is in Unrestricted General Government Aid. They are currently at the same level of aid as in 2005. Ms. Lovett explained New Growth and its history.
Ms. Brouillette stated that there is very little potential for revenue increases. This committee will need to recommend plans to increase revenues. Douglas is almost 94% residential, with very little commercial tax base. Mr. Guzinski stated that the governor announced 9c budget cuts, however the legislature plans to reject anything relating to cuts in Local Aid that requires their approval.
The impact of Proposition 2.5 on the ability of Douglas to grow was discussed. Due to the small size of Douglas, a 2.5% increase in property taxes each year is not enough to grow a community.
Ms. Spitulnik stated that the Foundation Budget Review Commission is reviewing the Chapter 70 formula. A group of superintendents from smaller towns have written a letter stating how the foundation budget does not service small towns in a way that will allow them to stay afloat. They will be testifying at a hearing on January 24, 2015.
Ms. Brouillette stated that the committee will need an estimate on how the revenues may grow, or not grow to use as a tool to show the community where the Town may be in five years. School mandates will need to be rolled into the expense projections.
Ms. Brouillette feels that the Town needs to get stronger at identifying the issues at the State level that the Board of Selectmen or elected school Committee members can take on. There needs to be broader discussions at the regional and state levels of how to affect change.

3. Discuss Process for Developing a 5-year Budget Plan
Mr. Guzinski and Ms. Lovett will gather five-year budget plans that other towns have prepared for the committee to look at before the next meeting. Ms. Spitulnik will present the plan that she helped develop in Northbridge. She asked the committee to look at how the plans will be marketed to the voters so that the impacts will be clearly understood. A discussion was held regarding joint accountancy for the Town and the School Department. A discussion was held regarding regional school districts and regionalizing services.

4. Minutes: November 20, 2014
Ms. Holmes made a motion to approve the November 20, 2014 meeting minutes of the Strategic Budget Committee meeting as presented. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

5. Establish Future Meeting Dates
The next meetings will be December 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM and January 8, 2015 at 3:00 PM.

6. Old/New Business/Open Session
Old Business: None
New Business: None

7. Adjournment
Ms. Holmes made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 3:15 PM. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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