January 23, 2018 Finance Committee meeting

January 23, 2018 Finance Committee meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:34 am

FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2018

A meeting of the Finance Committee (FC) was held on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 in the Municipal Center. Mr. Hogan called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM.

ATTENDANCE:
PRESENT: Ryan Hogan (Chair), Eric Chamberland, Howard D’Amico (Vice Chair), Michael Hutnak (arrived 7:24 PM), Leigh Lahousse
ABSENT: Carol Gogolinski (Excused), Pamela Holmes (Excused), Cynthia Shurick (Excused)
NON-VOTING: Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Matt Wojcik (Town Administrator)

1. DISCUSS BUDGET WORKSHEET FOR FISCAL 2019 BUDGET
Mr. Wojcik walked the FC through the new budget worksheets, which stress a five-year budget forecast. He also stressed creating five-year capital forecasts. Together, these forecasts can smooth out spending to avoid spikes in spending for the townspeople. Ninety percent of the dollars are currently in the worksheet. Mr. Wojcik hopes to have the worksheet completely filled in and distributed to the FC by next week. He suggested focusing on the revenue side of the budget to get a realistic sense as to the resources available to the Town.
The largest account for the next five years will be the employer contribution to the Worcester County Regional Pension Fund. The renewal rate for Health Insurance may be in the range of 5%. The Town’s financial position is established by the position of the School Dept. Mr. Wojcik has heard from the School Dept. that the delta in their account for the current year is larger than any delta in any Town account for the next five years.

2. DEPARTMENT BUDGET REVIEWS
-Highway Department
Highway Superintendent John Furno joined the meeting. Mr. Furno reviewed the changes in the budget. Tree Removal has been increased from $4,500 to $9,700. The cost of a tree removal crew is $3,000/day. There are also increases in Salaries and Training.
The Snow & Ice Account for FY17 was $293,027. FY18 started with $135,000, and spending is currently at a little over $168,000. Each pass through the Town costs about $8,000. The account will stay at $135,000 for FY19 since that account can be deficit spent.
It will cost approximately $6,000 to dispose of debris collected from sweeping the streets and cleaning the catch basins.
Mr. Wojcik explained that some feasibility studies will need to be done to find a location for a fuel tank to supply the town-owned vehicles.
-Facilities & Maintenance
Facilities Maintenance Manager Adam Furno joined the meeting. He began discussing Salaries. He put in for a full-time maintenance person for FY2020 at $63,377. Doing so eliminates Mr. Furno’s part-time wages and overtime.
Mr. Furno reduced Electricity by $10,000 due to the results of a National Grid Energy Audit. Heating costs will be reduced due to the new windows installed in the Municipal Center. Mr. Furno reviewed the Maintenance budget and projects, including gym windows, plumbing issues, and heat exchangers. A lengthy discussion was held regarding the heating system in the Police Dept.
-Community Development
Town Engineer Bill Cundiff joined the meeting. He stated that for the most part, the department budget will be level-funded. He reassigned the Expense categories based on the trends over the past five years; the bottom line remains the same. He carried $500 in Professional & Technical in order to be able to use outside professionals to get accurate project costs at the front end of forthcoming Capital projects.
Mr. Cundiff talked about the Sidewalk Plan for between Franklin St. and Sunset Drive. The Plan was appropriated at Town Meeting. The area was surveyed, which showed that there is an alignment issue with Rte. 16. This project is on hold.
Part-time wages increased due to the minute taker. He generally carries a budget which is usually double what is utilized.
-The Conservation Commission voted to level fund for the next five years. Mr. Cundiff will ask them to project their budget allocation to reflect past trends, although the dollar amounts reflect what they spend.
-Open Space has carried $100 for at least 20 years and Mr. Cundiff does not believe it has ever been spent, however it may be spent in FY19 in order to have some maps produced.
-Mr. Cundiff reassigned the Planning Board’s projections, especially Central Mass. Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) dues and membership. The Planning Board voted to maintain a level budget.
- The Zoning Board of Appeals voted to maintain a level funded budget for FY19 and projected out for five years.
-The Economic Development Commission also voted to maintain a level funded budget for FY19 and projected out for five years. Mr. D’Amico asked where the Town’s budget for economic development lies. Mr. Wojcik replied that it is in the Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) budget and it is currently around $9,000. Mr. Cundiff stated that CMRPC is in the process of developing an economic development plan.
Mr. Wojcik feels that a market range study is paramount. A Traffic Study would also be important. Mr. D’Amico asked that a discussion about economic development be placed on an agenda for the FC.
-Building and Facilities Construction Committee carries a line for the meeting minute transcriber, and they voted to reduce that line from $600 to $300, which is representative of what has been spent. They also reduced their Operating Expenses from $1,500 to $500.

3. DISCUSS GREEN COMMUNITIES GRANT
Mr. Cundiff distributed a summary list. He listed the five criteria that the Town committed to in order to become a Green Community, and he listed some of the benefits to the Town. Douglas has been designated a Green Community and now has access to a Designation Grant of $145,940. A grant application is due 2/23/18 and needs to be submitted along with their projects. The Town is looking to use this grant to convert the street lighting to LED lighting. Mr. Wojcik is not certain that the conversion would save money for the Town as they buy energy through a ConEd net metering arrangement, which puts a cap on credits.
Other uses for the grant could be to remove the passive duct system at the Municipal Center and renovations at the library.

4. DISCUSS BVT ISSUES SURROUNDING INCREASED ENROLLMENT
In the packet is a request from Mr. D’Amico to have Town Counsel review the district agreement and some articles from Pamela Holmes regarding Montachusett Regional Technical School in Fitchburg. Mr. Wojcik and Ms. Lovett are curious as to how Blackstone Valley Tech’s (BVT) overall enrollment is going up and how the delta in that overall enrollment is similar to the delta in the number of Douglas students that have been admitted. Mr. D’Amico would like the Town to have a fair understanding as to what the rules are. Mr. Wojcik will have Atty. Rich Bowen review the agreement.

5. RESERVE FUND TRANSFERS
There were no transfers.

6. REVIEW OF EXPENDITURE REPORTS
Mr. Hogan stated that he signed a voucher for payroll for the minute taker for less than $30.

7. APPROVE MEETING MINUTES: September 26, October 10, November 6, 2017 & January 9, 2018.
Mr. Chamberland made a motion to approve the September 26, 2017 Finance Committee meeting minutes as amended. Mr. Hutnak seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.
Mr. D’Amico made a motion to approve the October 10, 2017 Finance Committee meeting minutes as amended. Ms. Lahousse seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.
Mr. Chamberland made a motion to approve the November 6, 2017 Finance Committee meeting minutes as amended. Ms. Lahousse seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.
Mr. Hutnak made a motion to approve the January 9, 2018 Finance Committee meeting minutes as amended. Mr. Chamberland seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

8. OLD/NEWBUSINESS
New Business: There was no new business.
Old Business: The Governor’s budget is due tomorrow.

9. OTHER BUSINESS
The next meeting is 1/30/18 and the library and the Council on Aging will be presenting. The economic development discussion will be on the agenda for the 2/13/18 meeting.

10. ADJOURNMENT
Mr. D’Amico made a motion at 9:07 PM to adjourn the Finance Committee meeting. Mr. Hutnak seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

Respectfully submitted,


Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
 
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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