BOS - March 30, 2004 Workshop

BOS - March 30, 2004 Workshop

Postby Suzanne Kane » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:30 pm

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
Budget Workshop
March 30, 2004
Approved April 20, 2004


1. Call to Order:

Madame Chairman Shirley Mosczynski called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm. In attendance: Paula Brouillette, Rich Preston, Ron Forget, Edward Therrien, Executive Administrator Michael Guzinski, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

Other Staff and Citizens: Finance Committee Chair Pamela Holmes, T&G Reporter Steve Foskett, and Tribune Reporter Tom Mattson.

• Bond Anticipation Note: Town Treasurer Sharon Brotherton prepared a package which included the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Town of Douglas, Renewal Anticipation Serial Loan Building Repairs, No. 772-1, for $560,000.00, date of issue April 7, 2004; Town of Douglas Massachusetts $560,000 Bond Anticipation Note – Building Repairs, dated April 7, 2004, due July 7, 2004; a Vote and Exhibit A – Schedule of Authorizations, Town of Douglas, Massachusetts. Rich Preston asked who prepared the notes and vote. Michael Guzinski explained that Bond Counsel prepared them. Paula Brouillette made a motion to approve the Bond Anticipation Note as presented (copy attached). Rich Preston seconded the motion. All – aye.

• Budget Workshop: Handed out prior to the meeting is a memo to the Board of Selectmen, from Town Accountant Rich Mathieu, dated March 30, 2004, re: FY05 Budget Update, FY05 Available Revenues, updated March 30, 2004; FY05 Budget – Balancing Revenues and Expenditures; and FY05-05 School Budget Comparison, dated March 29, 2004. Michael Guzinski reported that he and Rich Mathieu met with the School. Rich Mathieu went over the updated budget. Pam Holmes stated the salary figures did not seem to have changed. Rich Mathieu explained that the 5% was taken out a while ago but the summary still has the 5%. He also explained that new growth has been finalized. Pam Holmes asked for an explanation as to why the Police expenses have gone up. Rich Mathieu explained that there were three positions previously and now there is only one, that extra could be equipment originally planned for the extra personnel, he will get the details. Michael Guzinski reported that the Fire Chief sent a letter to the Capital Improvement Committee concerning the Fire vehicle. He has learned the vehicle will cost approximately $4,000 to repair and get back on the road. He is requesting funding to lease a new vehicle. Michael Guzinski stated Chief Gonynor is getting the numbers. Pam Holmes requested Chief Gonynor also include the ambulance revenues. Ron Forget questioned the use of the vehicle, stating he has seen other people using it. Michael Guzinski stated he is not sure what the past policy is, but it would depend on if it is a “Department” vehicle or a “Chief” vehicle. Shirley Mosczynski stated she has not seen anyone else using the vehicle, but she would have no objections to other people using it if the Chief is off duty. Rich Preston asked Michael Guzinski what the norm is. Michael Guzinski stated that in Blackstone they have a Department vehicle. He stated they would not want them using the fire truck to inspect a hydrant. Shirley Mosczynski pointed out that the Chief’s vehicle used to be a Police vehicle. Michael Guzinski stated that typically Police vehicles are retired after 100,000 miles, this vehicle was over that limit. Pamela Holmes asked about the $1,500 increase in the Cemetery budget. Rich Mathieu stated it was put back in from the FY04 reduction. Pamela Holmes asked about the difference in the Highway budget. Rich Mathieu stated he had made a mistake and recalculated. Ron Forget returned to the Fire vehicle. He stated he still has a problem with the car; he feels the Fire Chief should have an old Police cruiser, he feels he doesn’t need to lease a new vehicle. He stated it doesn’t go out of town much. Shirley Mosczynski stated this is an item they could get more information on. Michael Guzinski suggested they have Chief Gonynor in to talk about it. Rich Preston asked if the Police will be replacing any vehicles soon. Edward Therrien stated he thought they should be replacing three of them. Edward Therrien also stated he has a problem with the ambulance being used for inspections. Shirley Mosczynski stated they need to discuss this with the Chief. Michael Guzinski referred to the FY05 Budget – Balancing Revenues and Expenditures hondout; he explained the numbers shown are just thrown out to show what kind of numbers are needed to balance the budget, numbers can be moved around. Otherwise they would need to have an over-ride. Michael Guzinski stated he and Rich Mathieu asked the School for a break down of reasons for their increases, to give them an idea of where they are coming from. Rich Mathieu stated he has someone coming in from DOR on Thursday for a discussion on the Choice Out savings to find out how to handle it. Shirley Mosczynski asked about the FY 04-05 Comparison sheet from the School. Michael Guzinski stated they give the bottom line number but no detail; there is no reason why new line items appear. Ron Forget asked if at the meeting with the School, they talked about the Union Contract. Michael Guzinski stated that there is something on the table and they are waiting to hear back from the Union. Ron Forget asked if that was included in the budget. Rich Mathieu stated he thinks it is in. Shirley Mosczynski asked if Rich Mathieu was involved with the negotiations as the Board of Selectmen’s representative. Rich Mathieu stated he was invited to the first meeting and did not hear about the second meeting until the day of the meeting. He stated that Connie Verge is aware that Michael Guzinski is now the Board of Selectmen’s representative. In reference to the FY05 Budget Balancing Revenues and Expenditures sheet, Rich Mathieu stated he does not like the idea of decreasing the Local Estimated Receipts. Paula Brouillette cautioned that last year $800,000 was used from Free Cash; that number is going to go down, they have used up all of their one time revenues and they will not be available next year. Rich Preston asked what the ramifications would be if there is no Free Cash. Rich Mathieu said to think of Free Cash as a tax return. Michael Guzinski stated that if you have no Free Cash, you have nothing for unforeseen expenses. Pamela Holmes stated that historically Free Cash was used for Capital Items. Four to five thousand per year was typically saved for Free Cash. Rich Preston stated that was his question; typically have there been unforeseen expenses; will it be wise to use all of their Free Cash. Pamela Holmes stated she is more comfortable with using Free Cash then increasing the revenues. It puts a burden on the tax payers. She stated that speaking to some department heads, people are foreclosing on their property. Shirley Mosczynski asked if the COLA has been put in yet. Rich Mathieu stated no, just the one step increase. Michael Guzinski stated it figures about 13%. Ron Forget stated that 2005 is a revaluation year and asked what the ramifications are. Will that affect the State contribution because Douglas is a richer Town? Pamela Holmes stated the Town is not getting a lot of money from the State now. Rich Preston asked where Chapter 90 is. Michael Guzinski stated he thinks the State is trying to restore some of that money. Shirley Mosczynski asked about the General Fund reductions. Michael Guzinski stated the budgets are pretty lean now; they need to look at where they can take 50 to 60,000 off in different places, like Capital items. He stated with out cutting services, there’s not a lot of money out there to siphon away. Paula Brouillette stated that there are two issues which will happen sooner or later, one is the boiler at the Elementary School and the other is the heating system here. She cautioned that as much as Capital can be referred, they must be aware that an emergency may happen. Rich Preston asked what other Capital items are slated for 2005. Paula Brouillette stated Martin Road, not a lot of emergency items, new items. Shirley Mosczynski stated another item was a Study. Rich Preston asked if the School budgets in capital items. Michael Guzinski stated that is one reason to look at the detail, right now they just don’t know. Shirley Mosczynski asked where the Accounting Software is. Rich Mathieu stated that it is in Capital. Paula Brouillette stated she was hoping it could have been done from Free Cash. Ron Forget stated he believes that Capital is NOT in the School budget, saying every time it was in the past it was cut. He stated their option is to cut Capital or cut people. Paula Brouillette stated she just doesn’t want it to be the first place they go to. She agrees it’s a place to cut without affecting personnel; she just doesn’t want it deferred too long. Ron Forget reported that the Towns people do not want an over-ride. Pam Holmes made reference to the School breakdown, a lot of line items have gone up, she stated those are not people, they are things. Pam Holmes stated they need to look at the community as a whole, they should ask the School, “do you really need to do that this year?” Ron Forget stated he can answer some of those questions; for example he stated that because of the life styles of people today, there is a reason Health Services is put in. Shirley Mosczynski stated they need more detail so if a question comes up, they can be answered. Paula Brouillette referring to the FY05 Budget – Balancing Revenues and Expenditures sheet, suggested the School Reduction (Ex) be increased to $410,000 from $375,000, the Free Cash be applied to the budget, the General Fund Reductions (Ex) be increased to $310,000 from $275,000, eliminate the Local Est Receipts Increase (Rev), and leave Stabilization alone. Rich Mathieu stated they just need to make sure they have enough Capital budgeted. Ron Forget asked what if that doesn’t fly. Rich Mathieu stated the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee recommend to the Town. Paula Brouillette stated that if $410,000 doesn’t fly, $375,000 will not fly. Ron Forget stated that if that is what they are going with they should get it to the School right away so the School can have the figures for them on Tuesday. Michael Guzinski stated he will call the Superintendent tomorrow. Rich Preston stated he agrees with Paula Brouillette’s suggestion and that an operational over ride is not doable and leave Stabilization where it is. Edward Therrien agreed, no over ride and leave Stabilization alone. There was discussion on how Rich Mathieu came up with his numbers. Pam Holmes asked if the State increases funding for the School, will it be applied to the Municipal side. She referred to the Blackstone Valley Tech’s request stating it continues to be an issue. Michael Guzinski stated that any reduction in that would be good for Douglas’ overall picture, but he does not think it will be reduced. Paula Brouillette again suggested they see if the School will reduce their budget by $410,000 and use Free Cash to balance the budget. She feels the Choice Out is convoluted; she feels it is a one time revenue. The Assessment was for $457,000 in ’04 and it came in at $350,000. She stated the balance is out there, will it be seen on the Cherry Sheet next year, or is it a Fund Balance which normally flows into Free Cash. Ron Forget left the meeting at 7:18 pm. Paula Brouillette asked about the $52,000 that was loaned to the Highway Department from the School which they are asking to have back; where are they getting the money from? Rich Mathieu stated he is not sure. Michael Guzinski stated that is still an open issue. Paula Brouillette asked if there was a letter to which she was told yes. Shirley Mosczynski stated she has asked Rich Mathieu to show how much the Town pays over Net School Spending for the past three years; how much is the Town putting in above Net School funding. Rich Preston stated on Capital, he would like to see a policy where the School will account for future capital expenditures in their budget and thinks it needs further discussion. Shirley Mosczynski stated they need to look at getting a representative from the School to sit in on Capital Improvement meetings. In reference to budget reduction, Michael Guzinski stated Capital is the main part; they need to look at the budgets again to see where they can shave from. He stated that as he is becoming familiar with the budget, he sees it’s been pretty tight the past several years. Pam Holmes noted that the open deficit will go up once the Board decides on a COLA. Paula Brouillette stated they know the large items are the one Police position, the one Highway position, the truck for Highway and Capital. Rich Preston stated his concern about deferring the one Police position; that’s what keeps happening each year. Paula Brouillette stated it’s one way to cut with out affecting the current staff. Shirley Mosczynski stated she shares Rich Preston’s concerns and asked Michael Guzinski to work out information. She recounted that they agree with his recommendation to balance the budget, they need to look into the Fire Department’s request, and they need more information from the School. Shirley Mosczynski asked Rich Mathieu to talk to DOR and get what the community has put in over Net School Spending, she would like the history, and asked when he could have that information to them. Rich Mathieu stated that part of what he needs is what he has asked from the School, he hopes to have the information to the Board by next Wednesday’s meeting. Michael Guzinski asked if the Board would like to address the COLA at their next meeting. There was a consensus to go over the COLA at their next meeting. Paula Brouillette touched on the Valley Tech budget again, given that a number of area Finance Committees have been meeting about this, she thinks it is something worth pursuing to consider putting in a different number for the budget. There are at least 7 or 8 communities experiencing the same thing. Shirley Mosczynski stated that no one is saying they don’t support Schools; these are tight years and until they get more money from the State they need to tighten up.

2. Adjournment:
Rich Preston made a motion to adjourn at 7:37 pm. Paula Brouillette seconded the motion. All – aye.


Respectfully submitted;



Suzanne Kane
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