October 11, 2016 Finance Committee meeting

October 11, 2016 Finance Committee meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:59 pm


A meeting of the Finance Committee (Fin Com) was held on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at the Municipal Center. Mr. Guzinski called the meeting to order at 7:13 PM.

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

Mr. Hogan nominated Pamela Holmes for Chair of the Finance Committee. Vote: Unanimous.
Ms. Holmes took over as Chair. Ms. Holmes has asked that the Vice Chair be responsible for writing the notice for the STM, ATM and the flyer and write the Town Report.
Mr. Argall nominated Ryan Hogan for Vice Chair of the Finance Committee. Vote: Unanimous.

Fire Chief Kent Vinson joined the meeting. Mr. Guzinski stated that a study was done eight years ago that provided recommendations that the Town has been unable to execute due to finances. Each year the State places more requirements on call firefighters and it has become a struggle to staff the department. There is a lot of strain and frustration in the department.
The Chief and his staff have presented a proposal to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) about the issues. The BOS has determined that the issues have become so severe that there is a need to take action as soon as possible. The BOS asked the Chief to prepare budget documents and for Mr. Guzinski and Ms. Lovett to discuss the possibility of enacting the changes halfway through the year. Funding for the second half of this year has been found. Mr. Guzinski does not have some of the details on the budget due to wage aspects, etc. Based on meetings with the Chief with verbal agreements from the union, they would be able to make these proposed changes for an estimated $80,000 per year, plus other funds within the Fire Dept. that would be reallocated. No other services would be cut to fund this proposal for the remainder of the fiscal year. Mr. Guzinski cannot promise that services would not be cut for FY2017. This amount does not include health insurance.
Chief Vinson presented the findings from the 2009 manpower study. He explained the difficulties in responding to simultaneous events. The study states that the department should have 11 full-time people. He next presented the operational plan. The Chief would like to add three full-time EMTs. Part of the budget for part-time per diem call wages would be reallocated to add the three new full-time employees. The Chief’s proposal is the minimum level at which they should be staffed.
The Finance Committee asked to see a history of calls. The Chief feels that the call volume will only go up. Currently, from 9:00 PM – 6:00 AM there is no one staffing the Fire Department. Under the proposed plan, two employees would be at the station 24/7, 365 days/year.
Mr. Guzinski will send the proposal to the Finance Committee.
Mr. Hutnak suggested looking into regionalizing EMS services with one centralized dispatch. Chief Vinson stated that they had tried that at some level, and it was difficult. The hurdle of police operations and lock-ups needs to be worked out in order to set up a system where money is saved.
Ms. Shurick stated that Massachusetts has signed up for the new 911 system. When a 911 call comes in, the caller will be able to be located immediately.
Ms. Holmes is concerned that this proposal being brought forward at the fall Town Meeting instead of the Annual Town Meeting, which would be better attended. Mr. Guzinski stated that the BOS felt unanimously that the situation is dire enough to bring to fall Town Meeting.
Mr. Hutnak suggested letting the public know what services may need to be cut to afford this proposal for FY17. Ms. Lovett stated that it would be very difficult to do that due to the extent of the variables. Mr. Guzinski stated that the BOS has committed to making those decisions. This proposal would have no financial impact on the schools.

Ms. Lovett presented information that was requested at the last meeting: FY16 General Fund Balance, General Fund Revenue (FY16), Cherry Sheet History, and FY17 Expenditure Report. A discussion was held.
Free Cash was certified at $1.245 million. $220,000 was returned to the Town from the School Dept.’s General Fund. The Strategic Budget Committee has agreed to increase the Estimated Local Receipts by 2%. A discussion was held regarding Free Cash. Mr. Hogan feels a discussion/explanation regarding Free Cash would be good to have at Town Meeting.

Mr. Guzinski presented the draft of the STM warrant. The BOS will be reviewing and approving it at their meeting next Tuesday. He reviewed the articles: Article 1 is for prior year’s bills if any, Article 2 is for budget transfers and amendments, Article 3 is a transfer from Free Cash to the OPEB (Other Post Employee Benefits) Account, Article 4 is a transfer from Free Cash to Stabilization, Article 5 is to front $70,000 expected from the insurance settlement from the Municipal Center boiler fire to purchase some first floor windows for the Municipal Center, Article 6 is for the purchase of a rescue/pumper, Article 7 is for the purchase of a catch basin cleaner (amount needs to be corrected), Article 8 is to transfer over $35,000 from an old account for the water booster station, and Article 9 is for purchase of land for the benefit of the Water/Sewer Dept. (still in negotiation).
Article 2 includes a transfer of $39,000 to fund the Fire Chief’s staffing proposal for the remainder of the fiscal year. A discussion was held. The Finance Committee asked to recommend to the BOS that this be a separate article.
Mr. Guzinski stated that if Articles 6 and 7 do not pass at the November 8, 2016 ballot, they will be passed over at Town Meeting.

5. APPROVE MEETING MINUTES OF 2/29/16, 3/14/16, 3/15/16, 3/28/16, 4/4/16, 5/2/16 and 5/24/16.
Approval of the above meeting minutes was deferred to the next meeting.

Mr. Guzinski stated that the Municipal Center HVAC is working and the gym roof is almost complete.
The next Finance Committee will be October 25, 2016.

Mr. Hutnak made a motion at 9:36 PM to adjourn the Finance Committee meeting. Mr. Hogan seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
Posts: 601
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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