November 1, 2016 Finance Committee meeting

November 1, 2016 Finance Committee meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:09 pm

FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2016

A joint meeting of the Finance Committee (FC), Board of Selectmen (BOS), School Committee (SC) and Strategic Budget Committee (StBC) was held on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at the Municipal Center. Mr. Morse called the BOS meeting to order at 7:04 PM. Ms. Holmes called the FC meeting to order at 7:09 PM. Mr. Yacino called the SC meeting to order at 7:09 PM. Mr. Cortese called the StBC to order at 7:09 PM.

ATTENDANCE
PRESENT: Pamela Holmes (Chair), Brett Argall, Howard D’Amico, Ryan Hogan (Vice Chair), Cynthia Shurick
ABSENT: Jerome Kocur, Michael Hutnak, Carol Gogolinski
NON-VOTING: Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Suzanne Kane (Administrative Assistant), Cortney Keegan (School Business & Operations Manager), Norman Yvon (School Superintendent)
BOARD OF SELECTMEN: Kevin Morse (Chairman), Tim Bonin, David Cortese, Hal Davis (arrived 7:08 PM), Mike Hughes (Vice Chairman)
STRATEGIC BUDGET COMMITTEE: David Cortese (Chairman), Brett Argall, Pam Holmes, Mike Hughes, Sherry Zetlan
SCHOOL COMMITTEE: Scott Yacino (Chair), Jillian Carneiro, Sherry Zetlan (Vice Chair)

1. DISCUSS FALL SPECIAL TOWN MEETING AND THE FY18 BUDGET
Ms. Lovett distributed packets of information. Mr. Guzinski reviewed the Finance Committee flyer that will be sent to all residents the week before STM. Article 1 shows transfers that are needed as part of this year’s budget. The Blackstone Valley Tech (BVT) vocational assessment was increased because at least 9 other participating towns voted to appropriate the full assessment.
Article 2 is the staffing proposal for the Fire Dept./EMS to hire three basic firefighters in order to become a full-time 24/7 operation. Ms. Holmes feels that this is a significant change to the FY18 budget, and she is concerned about where the $80,000 to fund the proposal will come from. Mr. Morse stated that the BOS will be looking through various budgets department by department and making cuts as they are needed. A 24-hour Fire/EMS is needed, especially to maintain ALS certification. Mr. Guzinski stated that they are required to have full-time 2/47 paramedic operation. Ms. Holmes feels that the public needs to know what the recommendations for next year will be. She feels that this article, which will impact other departments, should have been brought before an annual town meeting.
Ms. Holmes read a letter received from BVT Superintendent Michael Fitzpatrick stating that Douglas’ enrollment at BVT has “significantly increased” by 15 students to a total of 96 students. Mr. Guzinski stated that Douglas will have three less nursing students.
A discussion was held regarding Douglas students attending BVT and the Douglas school district. Mr. D’Amico suggested building the perception of the integrity of the school system. Mr. Yacino stated that the SC is constantly looking for ways to keep students in the Douglas school district; however they are losing students because of choices that need to be made regarding what is going to be funded. Salaries for the school are contractually obligated to increase 2% next year for steps and lanes. He feels the two main reasons students leave Douglas school district are: out-of-pocket expense and large class sizes. He explained what the boards have done to address those issues. A discussion was held regarding the cost to send a pupil to BVT, the public’s perception of the budgets, marketing for schools, and Special Education costs.
Ms. Lovett presented the certified Free Cash and Expenditures and Revenues. Ms. Keegan presented the Chapter 70 trends.
A need was seen to schedule a StBC meeting and charge them with the task of looking at FY18. Mr. Cortese stated that one of the StBC’s tasks is to look at each individual Town budget.
Ms. Holmes questioned why the StBC was not involved in the BOS’s recommendation to go 24/7 for EMTs. Mr. Morse replied that an action needed to be taken immediately. Mr. Morse would like the StBC to identify potential cuts. Mr. Morse suggested an impact survey.
Mr. D’Amico asked where the Economic Development Committee (EDC) fits into all these discussions. Mr. Morse feels the EDC should work in collaboration with the StBC. Mr. Guzinski works with the EDC and Worcester Business Development Commission (WBDC) on a regular basis. They are not involved in the expenditure side of the Town. Mr. Davis suggested a presentation from WBDC.
Ms. Carneiro feels goals need to be set, and a vivid picture needs to be sent to the public as to what is going to be lost. The public has heard the same story year after year, but has not seen the cuts.
At this point, it is not known which services will be lost in FY18. Mr. Morse stated that the library is one item that is being considered for being cut. All departments have been asked to look at what their departments will look like with a 15% budget reduction. Estimated Revenues will not be known until the end of January. Fixed Expenses will not be known until the end of March. Mr. Hogan asked for a list of probable/definite cuts to present to the public.
It was decided to have another joint meeting in February, 2017. Ms. Holmes suggested a public meeting to present the probable cuts. It was decided that the StBC will present a list of potential cuts to the BOS after January 1, 2017. The SC will do the same. Mr. Yacino suggested a SC public hearing.
A woman in the audience asked that a list of potential cuts be posted on social media, and she asked for the SC to present a positive spin on attending Douglas high school to middle school parents as they prepare to decide where to send their students to high school.

2. ADJOURNMENT
Mr. Hogan made a motion at 8:49 PM to adjourn the Finance Committee meeting. Mr. Argall seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
The BOS remained in session. The StBC and SC adjourned their meetings.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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