August 23, 2016 Strategic Budget meeting

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August 23, 2016 Strategic Budget meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:33 pm


A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee (StBC) was held on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 in the Municipal Center. Mr. Cortese called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

PRESENT: Dave Cortese (Chairman), Brett Argall (Vice Chairman), Pamela Holmes, Sherry Zetlan
NON-VOTING: Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Norm Yvon (School Superintendent), Cortney Keegan (School Business Manager)
ABSENT: Jay Sartori (Excused)

1. Presentation by OpenGov on Municipal Budget Analysis Software
Brian May joined the meeting and gave a presentation, starting with an overview of the company and the issues they are trying to solve. OpenGov is a program that does data analysis for communities, governments, etc. Their product is in internal/external management-level tool that implements in 2-3 weeks and leaves the customer’s existing system in place. He gave a demonstration of the reporting software and provided pricing, which is scaled to budget.
Ms. Holmes asked if the data can be used and manipulated by the public. Mr. Yvon stated that the “owners” of the municipality can decide if the public can download any information. Mr. May concurred.
A discussion was held, including ongoing support, service, upgrades, start-up, start-up costs and access to the data of other OpenGov communities.

2. Discuss Current FY17 Revenue Projections
This topic was discussed at the August 17, 2016 joint meeting of the StBC, School Committee, Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen (BOS). Ms. Holmes would like an ongoing Revenue sheet. Mr. Guzinski and Ms. Lovett can provide updated Revenue sheets if/when new revenues come in.
Regarding the entrance fees at Wallum Lake, Mr. Guzinski has had discussions with the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner focusing on operations and fees. Mr. Guzinski feels there has been tremendous progress on the operations side. A dollar/car surcharge has been added to the entrance fee and is being set aside for the Town’s use. It has been expressed to the DCR Commissioner, Sen. Fattman and Rep. McKenna that the Town administration thinks this number should be higher. Mr. Guzinski is working to obtain the figure for the balance in that account.

3. Discuss Results of Joint Meeting with Board of Selectmen/School Committee/Finance Committee held on August 17, 2016
Mr. Guzinski stated that the BOS has received a PILOT report which will be presented and discussed at their September 20, 2016 meeting. This meeting has also been posted as a School Committee meeting. Mike Daley of Financial Advisory Associates will be doing the presentation. Sen. Fattman and Rep. McKenna have been invited to attend. The analysis shows that Douglas is not out of line in comparison with other communities and their State-owned properties.
4. Next Steps
Discussions were held regarding the StBC’s focus from this point on. Mr. Cortese stated that the StBC had previously discussed talking with department heads and asking them how they would deal with budget cuts of certain percentages and how those cuts would affect the services the average tax payer would receive. Mr. Guzinski feels this may be a positive exercise, however the policy boards would need to make the decisions.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the municipality does zero based budgeting, but from a different approach. Cuts of any size will be decisions based on services and priorities. Mr. Guzinski and Ms. Lovett described the low level of staffing currently in the municipal departments. Ms. Lovett stated that there is no room for reductions in any budget any more. Mr. Argall suggested rating each department as to whether or not there is any room for reductions. Mr. Guzinski will create a grading system.
Ms. Lovett expressed caution when discussing public safety due to confidentiality.
Mr. Argall suggested redoing last year’s five-year forecast based on the actual, level service budget. Mr. Guzinski and Ms. Lovett will try to have FY18 budget projections available by the end of October, although they cautioned that the numbers will be only estimates. A new Revenue sheet for FY17 will be available by the end of October. Ms. Lovett stated that she can provide the Excel spreadsheet for FY17.
Regarding budgets that are out of their control, Ms. Holmes suggested that the BOS meet with Douglas’ representative Mr. Lavin and Dr. Fitzpatrick of the Blackstone Valley Tech. Regional School Committee (BVTRSC) to request that they cooperate with Douglas’ fiscal issues. Mr. Guzinski will check for a follow-up BOS meeting with Dr. Fitzpatrick, Superintendent of BVT. Ms. Lovett stated that local communities are not able to withdraw from BVT’s postgraduate LPN program.

5. Minutes: April 13, 2016
Mr. Guzinski stated that the April 13, 2016 Strategic Budget Committee meeting was posted, but did not occur. Minutes to be approved are: March 29, April 20 and April 26, 2016. Approval of these minutes was deferred to the next meeting.

6. Old/ New Business
Old Business: There was no discussion.
New Business: A discussion was held regarding OpenGov. Ms. Lovett likes the product, however she feels that the presentation regarding implementation was simplified. Mr. Guzinski feels that data can be collected and presented effectively in other ways other than OpenGov. He feels that ClearGov would be better suited for a city.

7. Adjournment
Ms. Zetlan made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:22 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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