September 15, 2015 Strategic Budget Meeting

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September 15, 2015 Strategic Budget Meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:29 pm


A joint meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee and Finance Committee was held on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 in the Municipal Center. Ms. Brouillette and Ms. Holmes called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

Strategic Budget Committee:
PRESENT: Paula Brouillette (Chair), Dave Cortese (Vice Chair), Pamela Holmes, Sherry Zetlan
NON-VOTING: Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Cortney Keegan (School Business and Operations Manager), Norm Yvon (Superintendent of Schools)
ABSENT: Mike Hughes (Excused), Scott Yacino (Alternate-Excused)
Finance Committee
PRESENT: Pamela Holmes (Chairman), Ryan Hogan (Vice Chairman), Brett Argall, Paula Brouillette, Carol Gogolinski, Michael Hutnak, Cynthia Shurick
ABSENT: Jerome Kocur (Excused)

1. Reserve Fund Request (Finance Committee)
Ms. Lovett stated that they received the quote for the property insurance in July. The actuals were higher than anticipated. They will try to put the money back into the Reserve Fund at the November Town Meeting. A discussion was held.
Mr. Hutnak made a motion to transfer $11,500 from the Reserve Fund to Property Insurance. Ms. Shurick seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Ms. Holmes stated that the remainder of their agenda will be tabled until the next meeting.

2. Presentation (Strategic Budget Committee)
Ms. Brouillette stated that this is the first presentation of their initial results. Slides were presented. She presented the charge of the Committee, which was to develop a five-year sustainable budget for the Town. She presented the General Fund Revenues and Expenditures Pro Forma Assumptions used by the Committee for FY17-FY20. The Committee is in the process of preparing a summary document that looks at five years in the past and projects five years forward.
Mr. Guzinski and Mr. Yvon presented details on the impacts to the Town and School Dept. over the past seven years. Mr. Guzinski presented the three main reasons for the budget deficit: reduction in local aid increases in fixed costs and unfunded mandates.
Ms. Brouillette presented the Committee’s preliminary recommendations. Short term: continue to reduce local serves, a Proposition 2.5 override, and hire a Planner/Economic Development Director to increase the non-residential tax base. Long term: continue to lobby State elected officials for increased local aid and encourage the growth of local businesses.
Ms. Lovett cautioned the members of the audience that there are complex issues behind the numbers, and she encouraged them to ask questions.
The following was discussed: potential value of commercial development, combinations of recommendations, magnitude of the budget gap, infrastructure costs, the WBDC study, hiring of a planner, and regional services. Mr. Guzinski will talk to the Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) about writing grants for Douglas.
There will be another presentation for the general public in two weeks, a presentation to the Board of Selectmen in October, and a presentation at the Special Town Meeting in November.
The information on the presentations will be available online in a few weeks.

3. Old/New Business/Open Session
Old Business: There was no discussion.
New Business: Justin Snook, Library Director, joined the meeting. He presented the FY16 Operational Budget of $208,000 vs. the value of the items circulated in the Town, which was approximately $2 million dollars. He offered his and the library’s services to the Committees.
Mr. Snook is communicating with Sen. Fattman and Rep. McKenna to try to get the library renovation project funded outside of Douglas. Ms. Gogolinski suggested he contact Alcoa Aluminum. Mr. Hogan asked for an update on the project. Mr. Snook stated that all the details are on the library’s website.
Mr. Hogan suggested that the reductions in staff, especially from the School Dept., be shown year to year. Ms. Gogolinski suggested adding the percentage of staff reductions.
Tomorrow, Mr. Guzinski will start to advertise the next meeting. Ms. Keegan suggested that meeting be held at the high school.
Ms. Holmes stated for the Finance Committee that the annual meeting of town finance committees is October 17, 2015.

4. Adjournment
Mr. Cortese made a motion to adjourn the Strategic Budget Committee meeting at 8:37 PM. Ms. Zetlan seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Ms. Gogolinski made a motion to adjourn the Finance Committee meeting at 8:37 PM. Mr. Argall 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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