Minutes of the Finance Committee
April 9, 2001

In attendance: Members Farley, Nash, Raymond, Roberts, Vogt.

Chair Vogt called meeting to order at 6:35 pm.

Accept Minutes of March 15 and April 4, 2001

Minutes of March 15, submitted by Ms. Roberts, and of April 4, submitted by Mr. Nash, approved unanimously, subject to review.

Special Town Meeting Warrant

Ms. Vogt presented for consideration, two articles on the Special Town Meeting warrant for which FinCom had yet to vote on approval. Following action was taken:

Article 5, transfer $11,500 from EMS Coverage Program to fund police wage increase resulting from new Union Contract.

Action: Approved, unanimous.

Article 9, transfer $4200 from EMS Coverage Program to cover increase in EMS Wages.

Action: Approved, unanimous.

There was some discussion on articles, mainly to explain to new members why EMS Wage line had been underfunded at last ATM: then-director had felt this line was overfunded because there were not enough EMS personnel available to pay for ambulance calls. The new director and program have increased personnel, so additional wages are needed.

Report on Department Head Meeting

Mr. Farley reported in detail on his meeting with Department heads on March 27. He said it was a positive meeting with department heads interested in the development of this year's budget in light of fiscal restraints with books not closed, etc. He said from this meeting, an additional committee had been formed to look at the permitting process in the town. This committee is comprised of representatives of all departments and committees involved with permitting: building, plumbing, electrical inspectors, Town Clerk, and Board of Health. He reported that the committee is working on ways to improve communication and routines in the permitting process. He will remain on the committee because there are considerable revenues to be tracked through permits of all kinds.

 

General Discussion on Budget and FY00 Issues

Mr. Farley brought up several items for discussion.

He noted that there had been no response from the BOS or Fire Department following FinCom/Fire Department correspondence about a full time chief position.

He also was interested in FinCom bringing concerns to BOS on camera about the way in which FY02 budget was developed so townspeople can have a chance to hear our rationale before town meeting. After brief discussion, committee members agreed with Ms. Vogt’s suggestion that an April date would be good to consider and that we could perhaps do a half-hour presentation on the process, opening to questions for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Mr. Farley and Ms. Vogt will go to department head meeting on March 27 at 7:30 am.

Mr. Farley was also interested in investigating how to budget heating fuel based on historical usage for each department. It was felt Ashby Oil and town should have these records and that a projected usage budget could be crafted for each building. Mr. Farley and Ms. Vogt will follow up on this suggestion. Along these same lines, Mr. Farley also reiterated his concern that town continue to look to benefit from economies of scale with all buying, particularly for high-end items like communications systems.

Final Budget Pass

FinCom worked through budget, using agreed-upon 20% increase in fuel and revisiting all lines where FinCom figures differed from BOS. The following line items were discussed in detail with agreement on the dollar amount decided unanimously. Ms. Raymond’s spreadsheet reflecting these changes is attached to these minutes ("FinCom-after 3/15/01")

Line 11: Reserve Fund $42,181.07

FinCom request $30,000. It was noted BOS had used Reserve Fund to balance budget. This line will fluctuate before budget is finalized.

Line 29: Legal Services $50,000

FinCom agreed to match BOS suggestion (up from $25,000)

Line 51: Lyman Building Fuel $8100

FinCom held number at 20% increase (BOS requested $8500)

Line 64: Police Station Fuel $4,800

FinCom held at 20% increase (BOS requested $6000). It was noted this line’s FY01 appropriation of $4000 is 66% spent as of March 17.

Line 72: Fire Station Fuel $600

Assuming new waste oil furnace, 20% increase over FY01 appropriation.

Line 79: EMS Training $3000

FinCom matched BOS request. Mr. Farley noted FinCom interested in seeing an accounting of how many calls these expenses represent.

 

Line 88: $100; Line 89: $550; Line 91: $800; Line 92: 800

Inspector travel and expenses. FinCom met BOS request.

Line 96: Emergency Mgt Expense $500

FinCom met BOS and dept head request. This is for emergency generator expenses.

Line 106: Communication Employee Development $1000

Keep FinCom and dept head request. Possible BOS typo.

Line 109: Town Radios and pagers $2485

Some discussion on this line about why this money is here and not include in the $10,000 warrant article for pagers. Ms. Vogt and Mr. McCallum (who attended meeting briefly to answer questions) felt this had not been included in police department estimate. FinCom will include it until more questions answered.

Line 110: Monty Tech $394,011

Actual assessment now in, so BOS and FinCom requests updated to reflect number ($7480 additional).

Line 113: $37,068.72; Line 114: $33,205.85; Line 115: $32,231.16; Line 116: $31,345.08

Line 117: $24,455.81; Line 118: $24,455.81; Line 119: $2670.00

Highway wages and overtime. FinCom matched BOS requests which were actually revised figures requested by superintendent.

Line 126: Highway Barn Fuel $3240

FinCom held to 20% increase.

Line 127: Resurfacing Materials $15,000

Line renamed and FinCom matched BOS request.

Line 135: Cemetery Wages $12,042.80

FinCom matched revised BOS request

Line 157: Library Building Fuel $2000

FinCom matched department and BOS request.

Line 168: Town Common Shed Repair $500

FinCom matched request

Line 173: $38,572

FinCom to notify BOS that they’re line is wrong. This is actual number.

Line 176: $85,000; Line 177: $6119.30

Insurance and workers comp. FinCom matched BOS numbers.

Bottom line: $1738

FinCom request brings budget to $1738 surplus. Committee agreed to leave it on bottom line subject to the inevitable further discussion.

 

Special Town Meeting Articles: Draft of 3/14/01

FinCom took the following votes on the STM warrant. It was noted that these articles represent a $98,557.02 shortfall for FY01.

Article 1: $250 from NMRSD assessment to prior year bills

Approved, unanimous

Article 2: $300 from library building to library fuel

Approved, unanimous

Article 3: $8200 from cemetery lots to cemetery maintenance

Approved, 4-1.

 

Article 4: from available funds, $119,726 Chapter 90 funds

Approved, unanimous

Article 5: $11,500 from EMS program to police wages

Approved, unanimous

Article 6: $19350 from solid waste and NMRSD for accountants

Approved, unanimous (this figure will be -$7400, see article 9)

Article 7: $2970.50 for town office clerical (from collector clerical)

Approved, unanimous.

Article 8: total of $37,439 from various accounts to legal

Approved, unanimous

Article 9: $18,547.52 from additional lottery funds for reserve fund

Approved, unanimous.

Article 10: land purchase of Blood Hill

Approved, unanimous.

Article 11: approve borrowing for Blood Hill

Approved, unanimous.

 

Annual Town Meeting Warrant, draft of 3/14/01

FinCom took the following action on the ATM draft. It was noted that no money articles will be voted on unless free cash is certified. It was understood the order of the articles may change before ATM, to take into account the amount of free cash anticipated, if any.

Article 1-2: voting

No action, unanimous

Article 3: treasurer borrowing

Approved, unanimous.

Article 4: raise and appropriate all sums

Approved, unanimous

Article 5: MGR, Ch 59, Section 5K, senior citizen property tax work-off

Disapproved, unanimous. There was no backup info on this article, and also committee felt the management of such a program would create stress on already stretched administrative staff.

Article 6: perpetual care accounts

Approved, unanimous.

Article 7: increase cost of lots

Approved, unanimous

Article 8: put option of community preservation act on ballot

Approved, unanimous after discussion that passage meant putting this on ballot for townspeople to decide. Mr. McCallum explained that the surcharge would be on the TAXES of property value over $100,000, not on the property value itself.

Article 9: new road.

No action, unanimous.

Article 10: historical grant article for Lyman building

Tabled, as Ms. Sanders had advised might be removed

Article 11: Wireless Communication towers

Tabled, as Ms. Sanders had advised might be removed

 

Article 12: $79,500 for new truck

Approved, unanimous. NB. This and subsequent articles dependent upon certification of free cash.

Article 13: $6900 for waste oil furnace.

Approved, unanimous.

Article 14: $15,000 fire safety gear

Approved, unanimous. Discussion about what this would include since firemen have already received a grant for turnout gear (helmets, etc.)

Article 15: $15,000 for fire chief salary

Disapproved, unanimous. FinCom felt there had not been sufficient plan, last year, or this year, to justify this position.

Article 16: $6700 Hazardous Waste Day

Approved, unanimous. Discussion about how much hazardous waste this would remove.

Article 17: $2200 for fencing for Allen Field

Approved, unanimous

Article 18: $20,000 for foundation and drainage for Library

Approved, unanimous.

Article 19: $5000 for electrical service, library

Approved, unanimous.

Article 20: $10,000 radios and pagers

Approved, 3 for, 1 opposed, 1 abstaining. Disagreement on committee because some members felt not enough research had gone into this line.

Article 21. $10,000 to highway maintenance

Approved, unanimous. (Pay back highway for robbed line items.)

Article 22: $5000, highway surfacing materials

Approved unanimous (see Article 21)

Article 23: $6,000 library driveway resurface

Approved, unanimous

Article 24: balance to stabilization

Approved, unanimous.

Further Discussion

Brief discussion followed about procedure from this point on. Budget and warrant draft now go to BOS and FinCom will meet following March 21 BOS meeting to look at further discussions on both budget and articles. An additional FinCom meeting is scheduled for April 9.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Peggy Roberts, Clerk