April 16, 2015 Strategic Budget Committee

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April 16, 2015 Strategic Budget Committee

Postby Mary Wright » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:36 pm


A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee was held on Thursday, April 16, 2015 in the Municipal Center. Ms. Brouillette called the meeting to order at 5:13 PM.

PRESENT: Paula Brouillette (Chair), Dave Cortese (Vice Chair), Pamela Holmes, Melissa Morrison
NON-VOTING: Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator-left at 6:17 PM), Cortney Keegan (School Business Manager), Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Norm Yvon (School Superintendent)
ABSENT: Mike Hughes (Excused), Scott Yacino (Alternate-Excused)

1. Review and Discuss List of Proposed Towns for Comparative Analysis
Ms. Morrison suggested looking at the Town of Georgetown and looking at transportation vs. size of the town. The Committee discussed the data they want to pull to compare in order to prepare a presentation of preliminary results for the November Town Meeting. Mr. Guzinski stated that the list of communities for the present chart was gathered based on the number of residential parcels. He suggested that the committee pick 15 or so communities that best compare with Douglas and then use that revised list to talk about what other pieces of information would be most useful for discussion and comparison.
Mr. Guzinski and Ms. Lovett will narrow the chart down to 15-17 communities based on income/capita +/- $10,000 of Douglas’ $31,000 per capita income. Then they will look at the percentage of commercial property, average tax bill, history of operational overrides, and history of new growth. Once the communities are chosen, the Committee will compare the following criteria: K-12, regional school district, Chapter 70 as a percentage of the general fund budget, per pupil expenditure, required and actual net school spending, number of public safety officers (FTEs) per 1000, town or contract ambulance, health insurance, retirement, debt per capita, DPW, State-owned land, and total operating budget.
Ms. Lovett will prepare a list of fifteen communities, including Georgetown, Littleton, Rutland, and Ware, based on 2013 Income/Capita data. Ms. Holmes stated that the Committee also needs to look at how Douglas is different from other communities and stress those differences to our state legislators.

2. Discuss Timeline/Milestones
The following timeline was developed: two meetings in May to gather and examine the data, June financial summit to include the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, School Committee and state representatives and senators, July/August reserved for action items, and September/October will include presentations to town committees and public meetings. In October, the Committee will present to the Board of Selectmen in preparation for a Special Town Meeting in November. Ms. Lovett reminded the Committee that the Finance Dept. will be undertaking the MUNIS conversion over nine months.

3. Minutes: March 12, 2015
Approval of the March 12, 2015 meeting minutes of the Strategic Budget Committee was deferred to the next meeting.

4. Old/New Business/Open Session
Old Business: None
New Business: Mr. Guzinski stated that the State has valued its property in the community at $16,581,300. Using the methodology that the Town Assessor would use, the same land would be valued at $25,671,800. He thanked Beth MacKay, Principal Assessor for gathering that information and the pile-up payments. He has had discussions with financial people who might work to look at increasing the State’s valuation of that land. If that land was fully taxable at $25 million, the Town would get $423,000/year as opposed to the $190,000 currently received.
Ms. Holmes passed along several articles regarding towns vs. the State and their land valuations.

5. Adjournment
Ms. Holmes made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:24 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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