Minutes of the Finance Committee
February 8, 2001

In attendance: Members Farley, Nash, Raymond, Vogt. Also in attendance: BOS members McMurray, McCallum, and Town Administrator Linda Sanders.

Chair Vogt called meeting to order at 6:34 pm.

Accept Minutes of Jan 29, 2001

After perusing the notes provided by Ms. Roberts, Ms. Raymond made the motion to accept the minutes of 1/29/01, subject to further review. Seconded by Mr. Farley. Vote was unanimous to accept minutes.

Review of Current Year Budget to Date

Ms. Sanders presented written analysis of FY 2001 Expense Budget. In it, she highlighted where specific lines are being overspent or have been completely spent already. Of particular note are the following lines:

• Town Clerical Line is being overspent, but can be augmented with Collector Clerical line.

• Accounting Line will need more funding in order to close out and reconcile books, and to pay for training new accountant.

• Legal Counsel Services Line has been completely spent.

• Zoning Board Expense Line has been 83% spent already

• Police Training Line and Police Overtime Wages Line have been completely spent; there is no firm projection for the remainder of the year at this point

• Fire Station Fuel Line has been completely spent, due to breakdown of the waste-oil furnace

• EMT Wages Line and EMT Expense Line are going to be short by the end of the FY at current rate of spending

After examining budget line by line, Ms. Sanders estimated that the budget shortfall will be approximately $91,000.00. There is currently about $22,000 in the Reserve Fund, so other sources of funding are needed. Again, Ms. Sanders presented a list of possible funding sources from the current budget, which could be transferred at a Special Town Meeting. This list (Attachment Sheet 1) included the following: NMRSD Assessment Balance ($10,104.02), Additional Lottery ($47,439.00), Collector‚s Clerk Wages ($5,600.00), Veteran‚s Benefit Expense ($3,000.00), and EMS Program ($25,000.00).

Discussion ensued as to whether or not a Special Town Meeting would have to be called. Mr. McCallum felt that legal bills could be put off until after May. A new police contract might wait until then, but that was uncertain. Ms. Sanders explained that a very pressing issue that faces the town is the problem of closing the books and reconciling them, if the town wants to have its free cash certified and if the town wants to avoid having its Cherry Sheet payments cut off. FinCom and BOS agreed after much discussion that this was indeed a priority. To close the books, Ms. Sanders will make arrangements with Dick Choate, Frank Burke, and Marge Tavares to provide special services in this area. The approximate cost will be about $16,420.00, but Ms. Sanders will talk to each one and come up with more definite figures. FinCom will decide at our next meeting on 2/22/01 if Reserve Fund will be used to pay for these services.

 

Discussion of FY02 Budget

Since reconciling the fiscal books has been placed as a priority, free cash can now be figured into budget planning. Mr. McCallum advised that FinCom figure in a much smaller amount than the total for FY01 ($263,296.00); the amount available may be closer to half that amount. Ms. Vogt said that FinCom will run some projections of budget scenarios with free cash amounts of $0.00, $50,000.00, and $100,000.00. We will also figure how pay raises of 3% and 7% impact the budget.

A brief discussion about fiscal problems facing the town in the future took place. It is projected that free cash amounts will be going down in future years, but expenses will be going up due to (1) increased demands on town services due to increased growth in population and (2) increases in payroll which are needed in order to keep qualified employees working in town. At this point, Ms. Vogt pointed out that the Financial Management Review that took place in the fall was going to be sent to us shortly. Some ideas might be presented in this document which could help the town in the future.

Time Lines

The warrant has to go to Town Counsel for review on March 23, 2001. FinCom will meet on March 15, 2001 for final input. This leaves approximately one month to reconcile the books and get free cash certified. It was urged that BOS and Ms. Sanders not delay on making arrangements with Mr. Choate, Mr. Burke, and Ms. Tavares.

Reserve Fund Transfer Request

The Police Chief had a request (lowered from $3,200.00 to $1,000.00) for funds to pay for future overtime wages, since he had completely spent this Line from his budget. Ms.Vogt pointed out that she had requested certain documentation from the Chief, which he had not provided. After discussion, Ms. Raymond made the motion to deny the request due to the fact the requested documentation had not accompanied it. The vote was unanimous to deny the transfer.

Next Meetings

The FinCom is scheduled to meet on Thursday, February 22, 2001 at 6:30 pm; Monday, March 5, 2001 at 6:30pm, and Thursday, March 15, 2001 at 6:30pm for final input to budget.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:32 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Christopher Nash

Acting Clerk