BOS - March 28, 2006 Budget Workshop

BOS - March 28, 2006 Budget Workshop

Postby Suzanne Kane » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:49 pm

Board of Selectmen
Budget Workshop
March 28, 2006


Douglas Board of Selectmen
Workshop Minutes
March 28, 2006
Approved October 3, 2006


Madam Chair Shirley Mosczynski called the workshop to order at 6:30 pm.
In attendance: Paula Brouillette-Vice Chair, Rich Preston, David Furno, Executive Administrator-Michael Guzinski and Administrative Assistant-Suzanne Kane
Mitch Cohen and Tribune reporter-Tom Mattson

Mike Guzinski reviewed the following:
- Mr. Paul Keddy
resident of Perry Street Extension requested the Board be made aware that he filed a petition 2 years ago with the Town Clerk in regard to a section of the Towns’ Bylaws that allows individuals to petition Town Meeting to get them to pave private roads in the community and have the assessments divvied out amongst the owners along the roadway. Mike explained to Mr. Keddy the reason it didn’t go forward at the time was it came in late and wasn’t written properly, it didn’t reference that section or that assessments would be charged. Concerns with this Bylaw, even though approved by the Attorney General.

- Letter from Rick Colonero requesting the Board-in the next month or two-to review his roll as far as maintenance of the library. Mike – Unless it’s a total remodeling job, Mr. Colonero should be given very wide latitude in making sure that any defects in the building are corrected as soon as possible without having to wait for action from the Library Committee. Another issue is “where does the money come from?”

- Budget – Handouts: Mike – Information from the schools just received this evening-budget of $10,569,250, indicating request reduced by $104,157, reduces our budget deficit $1,247,041.
-Jeanne Lovett (Accountant) and Mike Daley (Interim Accountant) did a 5 year thorough search through the towns’ books $2,046,937.13-Stabillization.
-Rolling in the $600,000 in free cash to budget variance leaves $647,041.
-Assessors request for re-valuation: excess of $60,000 in over lay surplus account-reduces the variance to $587,041.
-Amount reduced from exempt debt for FY07, because of the receipt of balloon payment from the State, we’ll be paying the ban off on that within the next week. Outside cap reduction because of that payment is $467,279.
-Health Insurance impact and14-16 new hires
-For Fy06: A $500,000 over ride would have an estimated impact of a tax rate of .54 cents and an average home in Douglas assessed $291,400 would have an increase of $157.31

- Over ride Discussion - This would be 4th year of using free cash to balance the budget and lucky to be able to do. Expense growth this year is 9% and increased expenses year after year. Towns should look at the revenue as well as expense side. Taking half of what the over ride is, out of stabilization and asking for the other half as an over ride may take us through one year but facing a tough choice year two. Continuing to drain our stabilization every year. With approximately 16 new hires we’ll be paying COLA’s then maybe have layoffs. It cost about $130,000 in unemployment associated with the necessary school lay offs from hires by the prior superintendent. We’ll have money to get us through the next two years slowly draining stabilization and for Capital projects but not for every day. New hires on the Municipal side in public safety probably the biggest increase besides health insurance which is 14%. Douglas in 1980 was basically a volunteer town so Towns like ours over 30 years of prop 2 ½ have had a hard time. Mike will talk to Mr. Melican (Interim School Superintendent) in the morning regarding the school budget.
Next meeting posted for April 3rd prior to the STM on April 4th.
Consensus of the Board – We want the school to go back and look at what they’ve got. The Board of Selectmen willing to put on one over ride of $450,000.

Town Meeting is May 1st, the Warrant signed by April 11th and then to FinCom for approval for the flyer.

- Proposed DPW Special Act (Draft 3-10-06 Handout Final Draft April 11th): Mike – This was distributed a few weeks ago after conversation with Town Counsel in regards to the way the language was presented. Added language and Section 11 crossed out.
It was the Board’s decision to review the draft section by section as Mike read them.
-Section 2-July 1, 2007 contingent upon legislature moving this through expeditiously.
-Underlined Sections-New way Counsel recommends we present the actual functions of that department.
-Section 3-Basically allows the Town to have some flexibility with this, so we don’t have to go back and change a special act every time. As long as it’s within the basic scope it can be expanded somewhat.
-Section 4-Addition of GL c.30, §9A or GL c.31, by Town Counsel describes the nature of the position-somewhat more of executive nature because of the work this person would be doing. It gives the Board the option to establish an employment agreement.
Page 2, paragraph 2-Discussion followed regarding requirements, qualifications, certification, flexibility, experience. Rich – emphasized his thoughts that certification is important for someone working in this field and if successful in creating a DPW, we have an experienced, registered Civil Engineer. This is also an executive position. Maybe get an opinion from Bill-Town Engineer. Paula – Agrees, but advocates leaving it the way it is and during the advertising and interviewing process you narrow down the candidates. Shirley – Has asked Mike to talk to the Town Manager and Public Works person in Hopkinton. Suggested when Mike talks with Town Counsel to clarify “what’s the Executive’s role and what’s the Board’s role?”
-Section 6-Shirley- It’s not the intent of this process to do away with anyone’s job. As an employee reading this, because it’s change and stressful, the more we can define what it means to different kinds people is important to do. Inform public of what they’re voting for or against. We have no set rules for maintenance so Cemetery, Recreation can’t even apply for grants.
Compared to what the salary of what this person will get it’s not even going to come close to what the grants would be. We have to buy a pick up truck, give them health insurance, it’s a lot more money than you realize. We have good co-ordination but there’s room for even better with a central person and a lot of communities have shown that.
Mike – working on a present status chart and proposed DPW chart.
-Section 7-Mike – This is a clarification so we have everything in black and white.
*Note: Mike-The next several sections talks about the different Boards that are affected somewhat by this change.
-Section 8-Mike-(Water/Sewer) Basically the Board pretty much retains their policies and powers.
-Section 9-Mike-(Parks & Recreation) Again, from a policy standpoint they will continue to have over sighting control over who uses the fields and when, whether to pursue additional fields, upgrades and changes, but the general maintenance is by the director of the department.
-Section 10-(Cemetery) Monies from the lots goes into the general fund. The budget now used for mowing would go over to DPW and they would not be given an appropriation. Mike – met with them, they were pleased and didn’t think they would need a budget with a DPW.
-Section 11-Deleted as previously noted-replaced with a new one. Recommended by Counsel to give the Town more flexibility in respect to the Tree Warden.
-Section 12-Mike-(Highway Superintendent, Tree Warden, Insect Pest Control Superintendent) Would still have to have someone as supervisor and the DPW would be a resource to these people.
-Section 13-Mike-Convesation with Town Counsel, if the State doesn’t get around to approving this in time for annual election, the Town could get approval at the subsequent annual election.
-Consensus to have Mike - look into calling other communities with a DPW
-check on language for terminating employees
-clarification on language in Sections 9 & 10

- Motions for the Special Town Meeting:Mike – offered to meet individually to discuss the article or motion and has additional information if needed. Shirley – Selectmens meeting posted at 6:30 prior to the STM if necessary.

- Revenues and Expenditures next 5 years (Handout):Mike has been working with Mike Daley and have him come in before the Town Meeting if the Board requests to show the trend lines in regards to with or without an over ride.
Mike – briefly discussed the charts and suggested the Board review them for another session.
Discussion-The rationale for ’07 for dropping almost 3 Million Dollars, right now there’s a zero free cash number put in, that’s a large portion of it and the drop off of the debt. They are basically math formulas so there are other external factors that we may have to consider. You can look at historically how budgets are increasing. Recommend working on this with the School Committee and once the new administration is in to develop a formula and communication.

-Cafeteria Workers/Teamsters Union:Mike- The employer does not get involved in this.

-Letter from Mr. Tetreault’s Attorney (Drainage issue on his property):Mike- Has tried calling the attorney and if no results in a couple days, he will write him a letter. This is one of 5 drainage issues Bill is working on. This one requires easements, proper planning, co-operation and the Board will be informed of progress.

-TIF Requests-Mr. Marty Green: Mike– One is for the Board to sign the one approved at Town Meeting last year. The other is involving his client Mr. Nick Jane, who’s interested in establishing his landscaping business on Riedell Road at the same locality as the TIF’s approved last year. Mr. Green did submit two articles, however Mike informed him it was too late in the process at a brief meeting several weeks ago. Recommend the Board consider these for possible inclusion on the fall town meeting. Pending sale on a 2.8 acre parcel to construct a six thousand sq ft headquarters for the company. Maybe the Board to consider at some point setting a general policy for all TIF’s should go on a fall town meeting.
Consensus of the Board to do it in the fall.

–Personnel Bylaw and the Board’s Positon: Shirley – The bylaw is on the warrant and this Board did not take a position on it. Mike –The Personnel Board put it on, as it’s right as a Town Board on their own. Pay levels here vs. the pay levels of other communities, tuition reimbursement, sick leave buyback and longevity. Dave can not take a position formally.
Discussion - The Personnel Board has done a great job putting data together. Originally the intent of the Personnel Board was to have this come through under the policy provisions which probably would have required a lot more dialogue and discussion between them and the Board. It was moved to the bylaw process which all it needs is approval from the Board to be on the warrant. The “Sick Leave Buyback” had a lot more liability issues and was removed and “Tuition Reimbursement” is subject to funding availability and pre-approved by the Board of Selectmen. We have to look at the whole picture and come way up with some way to compare these to the union contracts that we have.

Adjournment- Paula Brouillette made a motion to adjourn at 9:35 pm.
Seconded – Rich Preston. All - aye.


Respectfully submitted,


Jane L. Alger
Administrative Secretary
Suzanne Kane
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