April 3, 2017 Finance Committee meeting

April 3, 2017 Finance Committee meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:44 am


A meeting of the Finance Committee (FC) was held on Monday, April 3, 2017 at the Municipal Center. Mr. Hogan called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM. (Mr. Hogan erroneously announced that it was April 10.)

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

Council on Aging
Patrice Rousseau joined the meeting. She stated that the budget is level funded. They currently have 804 senior members. Most of the money received from grants goes towards exercise programs. There is one part-time clerk and a per diem to cover vacations and sick days. The newsletter is mailed out twice a year to every townsperson age 60 and over. Ms. Rousseau will be going before the Board of Selectmen (BOS) tomorrow night to ask them to vote to establish a donation account for renovations, i.e. air conditioning. Ms. Rousseau spoke about the Sunshine Club that fundraises on behalf of the Senior Center. Transportation issues were discussed.
Blackstone Valley Tech (BVT)-Superintendent Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick
Dr. Fitzpatrick and John Lavin, Douglas’ representative on the BVT Regional School Committee (BVTRSC) joined the meeting. Dr. Fitzpatrick suggested that Ms. Rousseau contact the HVAC Department at BVT to see if they can be of help with the air conditioning at the Senior Center.
Dr. Fitzpatrick had informed Michael Guzinski, former Town Administrator, that Douglas had a significant increase in enrollment of 15 students in the amount of $195,767. Douglas’ per pupil assessment for BVT is approximately $9,500.
Dr. Fitzpatrick presented BVT student awards and achievements. He stated that BVT now charges a $75 fee for out-of-district visitors to the school. Money raised from that fee goes towards purchases that are not in the budget.
Dr. Fitzpatrick walked the FC through the BVT budget. There are three major spikes in the FY18 budget request. FY18 is the first year of a five-year cycle for a new bus transportation contract. The second major increase is in health benefits (13% increase). The teaching staff contributes a portion of their paycheck to OPEB. The third increase is due to a Milford Regional Hospital satellite program at BVT. Milford Regional Hospital had a $9 million deficit in funding, they were no longer able to subsidize the program and therefore BVT lost a $250,000 grant.
The total FY18 budget increase for BVT is 3.5%. The State is funding the BVT budget by 43%, leaving 57% to be funded by the participating towns. Dr. Fitzpatrick reviewed the budget sheet by sheet.
Dr. Fitzpatrick will recommend to the BVRSC that they not participate in school choice because the interest in BVT from within the regional district is so strong.
Topics covered were excess and deficiency, raising of alternative money to reduce assessments, assessments, per pupil costs, and a five-year analysis of enrollment. Mr. Argall asked Dr. Fitzpatrick how far BVT is above net school spending. Dr. Fitzpatrick will get those numbers. Dr. Fitzpatrick spoke about how the regional budgeting process differs from the budget process of a municipal school district.
In response to Mr. Hogan’s question as to whether or not the number of BVT Douglas attendees has crested, Dr. Fitzpatrick replied that the town you come from has no bearing on the number of acceptances, and he cannot predict the number of students accepted from each participating town each year. Dr. Fitzpatrick credits the sending school’s preparation of students K-12 for viable candidates. BVT is seeing increased applications from all the participating towns. A discussion was held regarding trying to predict how many Douglas students will attend BVT in the near future.
The increases negotiated in the BVT teachers’ contract are as follows: 1.6% for year one, 2.2% for year two and 2.6% for year three, with significant health insurance changes, OPEB contribution, steps and lanes. Total staff increase is 0.6.
Regarding extracurricular fees, instead of charging fees to parents, BVT pursues a variety of donations and asks students to perform services on campus. The fee structure is limited to $30/student. It is not required that students participating in extracurriculars participate in service to the school. In response to Ms. Lovett’s question, Dr. Fitzpatrick has not considered a BVT user fee that is the average of the fees of participating communities. Work performed at BVT by students during the school day is valued at over $112,000. Students work at the school during the summer and are paid minimum wage.
BVT has a new 5-year contract for Transportation. There is zero in the budget for Capital expenses as most of that money was secured by grants.
Regarding the post-graduate nursing program, Douglas has two participants. There are currently no plans to add post-graduate programs at BVT.
BVT does not have a program that tracks graduates more than five years after graduation. Dr. Fitzpatrick will get the FC information on the colleges attended by the last two graduating BVT classes.

The Committee did not have the ATM warrant articles. No voting occurred at this meeting.
Ms. Lovett reviewed the STM warrant. Article 1 is for one prior year bill from an insurance settlement in 2012. Ms. Lovett presented the budget transfers in Article 2 in detail. Ms. Lovett provided detail on reimbursement for the ambulance purchase, history of the Ambulance accounts and OPEB.
The BOS will be voting their recommendations for both warrants tomorrow night.

Ms. Lovett highlighted the changes from the last meeting. A higher estimate from New Growth was used based on predictions from the Assessor, $100,000 in additional Free Cash is being used over what has been used in past years, $72,000 in funding for police cruisers is absorbed in the Operating budget, there is a reduction in street lighting, a $10,000 transfer from the Conservation Commission account to the municipal budget for the maintenance of Conservation land was voted at tonight’s Conservation Commission meeting, and 53e.5 money from the Library is being used to help support the budget.
A discussion was held regarding street lighting.
There was no vote on the budget.

There was no expense voucher.

There were no minutes to approve.

Ms. Lovett explained that the transfer is to the cover the advertising costs for the Planning Board.
Mr. Argall made a motion to transfer $600 from the Reserve Fund to the Planning Board Expense Account. Mr. Hutnak seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

There was no discussion.

Mr. Hutnak made a motion at 10:07 PM to adjourn the Finance Committee meeting. Ms. Shurick seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
Posts: 506
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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