February 29, 2016 Finance Committee meeting

February 29, 2016 Finance Committee meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Mon May 09, 2016 5:28 pm


A meeting of the Finance Committee was held on Monday, February 29, 2016 at the Municipal Center. Ms. Holmes called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM.

PRESENT: Pamela Holmes (Chairman), Brett Argall, Howard D’Amico, Carol Gogolinski, Jerome Kocur, Cynthia Shurick
ABSENT: Ryan Hogan (Vice Chairman-Excused), Michael Hutnak (Excused)
NON-VOTING: Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director)

7:06 PM Community Development
William Cundiff, Town Engineer joined the meeting. He explained the staffing in the Community Development Department and their responsibilities. He described the housing developments that are currently ongoing in Douglas. He and Mr. Guzinski described what still remains to be done to close out the school building project.
Mr. Cundiff presented the following level-funded budgets: Conservation Commission, Open Space, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), Permanent Building Committee (BFCC), and Economic Development. The Community Development budget is level-funded except for adding a $10,000 consulting item to provide professional overseeing and assistance to review construction project budgets before they go before the Capital Committee.
The Finance Committee asked Mr. Guzinski if the Highway Dept. would be able to maintain the conservation land in lieu of contracting the work out. The Committee asked for a printout of Conservation Commission revenues for the next meeting. Legal fees were discussed.
Ms. Lovett reported the following revenues from last year: Conservation Commission $9,148, Planning Board $5,804, Community Development $250 and ZBA $2,788. Application fees were discussed and explained.
The Worcester Business Development Commission (WBDC) is being paid a monthly retainer up to $15,000 for economic development consulting. A discussion was held regarding economic development.
Mr. Cundiff and the Committee discussed the projects before the BFCC: the Municipal Center HVAC project, solar proposals, the post office, the second floor of the Municipal Center and the library ADA renovation project.
7:42 PM Highway Dept.
John Furno, Highway Superintendent joined the meeting. Some members of the Finance Committee toured the Highway Dept. facilities today. Mr. Furno listed his personnel and the department’s responsibilities. He discussed the reductions in his staff. He is down one person and down four summer personnel. Wages and Salaries were reviewed. Mr. Furno renegotiated their uniform contract to reduce that expense. Electricity costs were discussed.
The $10,000 increase in total salary came from steps and COLA. This year, Mr. Furno will have someone from the Senior Tax work off program work at the ball fields. An explanation of the reallocation of Adam Furno’s hours to allow him to work 20 hours for the Highway Dept. and 20 hours as Facilities Maintenance Manager was given. Mr. Furno kept the heating budget the same. Repair and Maintenance was lowered by $4,700, because he has a new ASE certified mechanic, therefore he feels more can be done in-house. The Other Properties line is back up to $10,000 because the State gave pothole money last year. Other Services has gone up because Mr. Furno has under budgeted for brush cutting in the past. He spoke about paving, filling and sealing cracks in the roads, and town bridge repairs.
Mr. Furno presented the Snow & Ice budget. It costs $6,000 to sand and salt the whole Town. Plowing the Town costs just under $1,000/hour. Salt costs $67/ton, which is the highest they have ever had to pay. Sand costs $15/ton.
8:09 PM Board of Health (BOH)
David McCallum (Chair), Steven Donatelli, Cory Howard (Animal Inspector) and Kristin Harris (Admin. Assistant) joined the meeting. Mr. McCallum spoke about the duties of the BOH. Monitoring of the seven wells around the landfill needs to be done twice a year at a cost of $9,950. The Committee asked why the Transfer Station costs would not pay for monitoring the wells. Mr. Guzinski stated that they are separate entities. A discussion was held regarding repairs needed at the wells.
Landfill Maintenance was discussed. It costs $1,400 for mowing to be done twice a year. Mr. McCallum spoke about fixing a ponding problem at the landfill. Mr. Howard presented the Animal Inspector’s budget. The salaries and the responsibilities of the Health Dept.’s personnel were presented. The Town Nurse works 8 hours per week,
Some of the Transfer Station’s Retained Earnings was used to reduce the price of the Transfer Station Sticker. There is not enough room at the station for the recycling bins. They would like to add another 35’ x 40’ area. Recycling was discussed. The Transfer Station’s wish list would include a third compactor, open the station more than three days/week, and take in a total of 2000 families.

Mr. D’Amico made a motion to approve the February 16, 2016 Finance Committee meeting minutes as presented. Mr. Argall seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Presenting at the March 14, 2016 meeting will be Blackstone Valley Tech. (BVT) and Douglas Public Schools. At that meeting, Mr. Guzinski will present a draft Town budget. Mr. Guzinski will email out the draft a few days before the meeting.
A joint meeting with the Board of Selectmen (BOS) and the School Committee will be on March 15, 2016. Rep. McKenna and Sen. Fattman have confirmed their attendance at that meeting.
Ms. Lovett distributed a sheet showing what was purchased with the $165,000 Travel & Tourism grant and an account of the library’s other revenue accounts.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the Capital Committee is recommending and asking the BOS to consider a 5-year debt exclusion for approximately $700,000 to purchase a rescue pumper and a catch basin cleaner. The BOS will be considering this request at their March 8, 2016 meeting. A discussion was held.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has agreed to make Douglas a funding partner, meaning that a minimum of $1 from every Douglas State Park admission will be transferred to the Town. He is in the process of requesting another meeting with DCR. Ms. Holmes would like information of how this process works in other Massachusetts towns that have a like arrangement. A discussion was held.
Ms. Holmes stated that BVT has included 5 Douglas post-secondary students in the Town’s assessment. Whether or not this is a breach of the regional agreement is a question for Town Counsel. The assessment for FY16-17 will be going up approximately $40,000. BVT’s FY16-17 budget will increase 3%. Ms. Lovett reminded the Committee that the Town is unable to do the same for Douglas schools. Ms. Holmes suggested that the Finance Committee write a letter to the BOS asking for a review and present it at the March 15, 2016 joint meeting. A discussion was held. Mr. Guzinski can forward Finance Committee questions to Dr. Fitzpatrick prior to his BVT presentation on March 14, 2016.

Mr. D’Amico made a motion at 9:33 PM to adjourn. Ms. Shurick seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
Posts: 594
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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