December 10, 2015 Strategic Budget meeting

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December 10, 2015 Strategic Budget meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:42 pm


A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee (StBC) was held on Thursday, December 10, 2015 in the Municipal Center. Ms. Brouillette called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

PRESENT: Paula Brouillette (Chair), Pamela Holmes, Dave Cortese, Sherry Zetlan
NON-VOTING: Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Norm Yvon (School Superintendent), Cortney Keegan (School Business Manager), Brett Argall (Finance Committee)
ABSENT: Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director)

1. Review and Discuss Results of Special Town Meeting
Ms. Brouillette thought the meeting went well. She did not hear anyone argue against their assumptions. She opened the meeting up for comments. Ms. Zetlan has heard a recurring request to find ways to communicate more effectively. There is information posted on the Town’s website. Mr. Guzinski stated that a flyer announcing the Town Meeting is mailed to every household. Ms. Holmes suggested showing some meetings at the Senior Center for those that do not have cable or computer access.
Ms. Brouillette suggested using social media to drive an event or a specific goal. Mr. Cortese and Mr. Argall supported the use of social media. Currently, the Police Dept. is the only Town department with a Facebook page. How other towns similar to Douglas use social media can be researched. Mr. Guzinski will check the Town’s website to see if the public is directed to the Police Dept.’s Facebook page.
Mr. Guzinski has had difficulty getting press releases published in the news media, unless the topic is something new.

2. Review Existing Charge/Discuss Proposed Charge
Ms. Brouillette stated that she and Mr. Guzinski had discussed that not all the items from the committee’s original charge had been addressed and some new tasks have come to light. The Committee reviewed the original charge. The Board of Selectmen (BOS) needs to validate that other topics are worth being examined. The Committee would like to review the BOS’s financial polices about one- time revenues. Mr. Guzinski will have those policies for the next meeting.
Ms. Brouillette feels the StBC should be a seven-member board with a four-member quorum. She would like one member to be from the Finance Committee and one to be a Citizen at Large. That way, there could be three-member working groups. That discussion is on the BOS’s agenda for next Tuesday.
As part of the original charge, it was felt that the StBC did not identify policy discussions i.e.: regionalizing services, animal control, forming a Dept. of Public Works, how to use a sustainable budget, etc.
How to use an increase in revenues was discussed. It was suggested that a sustainable Operating Budget be planned, and any unexpected increase in revenues could fund capital projects. Ms. Holmes suggested that a percentage of any increase be placed in Stabilization.
It was decided that the recommendation to the BOS will be that the StBC: primarily look at strategies for cost reductions, work on recommendations for use of new growth revenue, develop a plan to fully fund the Capital Plan, develop recommendations for the use of one-time revenues, and create a detailed recommendation of a combination of reduced local services and/or increase local taxes and fees to balance the budget over the next five years. The StBC is requesting that the BOS retain the original membership and add one member of the Finance Committee and one Citizen at Large.
Regarding the FY17 budget, if State Aid comes in at 1%, Mr. Guzinski stated that there would be additional cuts. Mr. Guzinski can put forth a plan with funding on the Municipal side, however he cannot show how the policy boards would make the cuts. How is the deficit shared with the school?

3. Next Steps
A discussion was held regarding deliverables. On social media, the StBC can show what the Town would look like under certain budget situations. The StBC did not feel that additional work would have to be presented at Town Meeting.
It was decided to have the following as deliverables by June 30, 2016: a recommendation to the BOS of how to balance the budget for the next five years, compare the first year of the StBC’s five-year plan with the actual FY17, present a “State of the Town” address, and quantify what Douglas could do with an increase in revenues,

4. Reorganization
It was decided to hold off on reorganization until two new members are approved and obtained.
It was decided to meet on the second and/or fourth Tuesdays of the month at 7:00 PM. The next meeting will be January 12, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

5. Old/ New Business
Old Business: There was no discussion.
New Business: Mr. Cortese spoke about ClearGov, which is a company that will design a user-friendly website for the public that shows all the funding a town receives and how it gets broken down. The Town would have to subscribe to it at a cost. He has not yet looked into it in detail. Oxford currently uses it. Mr. Argall spoke about VisGov, which is free software which presents your data in a user-friendly format. It was decided to add this discussion to the agenda for January 12, 2016.

6. Adjournment
Mr. Cortese made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:13 PM. Ms. Holmes 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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