October 13, 2015 Strategic Budget meeting

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October 13, 2015 Strategic Budget meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:35 pm


A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee was held on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 in the Municipal Center. Ms. Brouillette called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM.

PRESENT: Paula Brouillette (Chair), Dave Cortese (Vice Chair), Pamela Holmes
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), Sherry Zetlan (Absent, Excused)

1. Review and Discuss Prior Presentations
Ms. Brouillette thanked Mr. Cortese and Ms. Holmes for chairing the last presentation. Ms. Holmes felt that the last presentation, attended by 40-50 people, went well and was well received. Rep. McKenna was present and talked about the process of getting the pilot payments changed, changes being looked for in Chapter 70, the allocation of the $165,000 he and Sen. Fattman got in place, and made a plea for parents to get involved.
Mr. Yvon heard concerns from the public regarding short-term impacts and a Proposition 2.5 override. Mr. Cortese and Ms. Keegan feel there is a greater level of fiscal comprehension from the public than there was a year ago. Ms. Holmes stated that one woman appeared to be making a decision that Douglas cannot solve this problem. Mr. Yvon has heard people making the connection between property values and what is happening with the schools and the Town and the Town’s reputation. He heard an interest in economic development and in having someone help the Town with that. Ms. Holmes heard that people do not want to cut current services and want services that have been cut to be restored.
Ms. Holmes suggested harnessing people’s concern and asking them to contact their legislators and encourage their neighbors to watch the Strategic Budget Committee’s presentations. Mr. Guzinski will check to see if the contact information for Rep. McKenna and Sen. Fattman are on the website.

2. Discuss Recommendations to the Board of Selectmen (BOS)
A discussion was held. School transportation fees, school parking fees, and athletic fees were discussed and are being looked at by the School Department. Ms. Holmes mentioned that the busses for Blackstone Valley Regional Technical Vocational High School (BVT) are no longer dropping off students in the center of Town, but are delivering them throughout, which may result in higher transportation costs for Douglas. Mr. Guzinski mentioned looking at adding fees on the municipal side.
Short term, it was decided that Douglas needs to further delay implementation of needed changes and may have to make cuts to help survive the next year or two. The only other increase in revenues would be a Proposition 2.5 override. Another approach would be to divide the solution to the deficit gap into thirds: 1/3 would come from the taxpayers, 1/3 from economic development, and 1/3 would come from working at the State level to improve the Chapter 70 contribution.
Ms. Brouillette would recommend that the charge of the Strategic Budget Committee needs to be refreshed and needs to continue on to find a way fund capital.

3. Prepare Presentation to the Board of Selectmen (BOS)
The magnitude of the problem will be presented to the BOS and the following recommendations will be made: ways to solve the problem for the next five years and refreshing the charge of the committee. There will be a conversation component on how to use the information to take the next step. Mr. Guzinski will encourage the members of the BOS to watch the full presentations that are posted online.
They will also present what they feel the increases are going to be for FY17. They will show what services may be lost, such as closing the library, shutting off streetlights, etc.
They will remind the public of the actions the School Dept. and the Town has taken to try to balance the budget and approach State legislators. Mr. Guzinski will remind Rep. McKenna and Sen. Fattman about the presentation at the November 16, 2015 Special Town Meeting.
Mr. Guzinski and Ms. Brouillette will work on a draft framework to include Local, State and Economic Development with bullets for short term, long term, with a final recommendation that there is still work to be done. Ms. Brouillette will make the presentation to the BOS.
Mr. Guzinski is working on being ready for the next round of MassWorks grants for economic development.

4. Minutes: September 1 and September 15, 2015.
Mr. Cortese made a motion to approve the September 1, 2015 minutes of the Strategic Budget Committee meeting as presented. Ms. Holmes seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Ms. Holmes made a motion to approve the September 15, 2015 minutes of the Strategic Budget Committee meeting as presented. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

5. Old/New Business/Open Session
Old Business: There was no discussion.
New Business: There was no discussion.

6. Adjournment
Mr. Cortese made a motion to adjourn the Strategic Budget Committee meeting at 8:12 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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