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.

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 with more experienced members explaining to new members why EMS Wage line had been under-funded at last ATM: the former director of the ambulance department felt this line was over-funded because there were not enough EMS personnel to receive wages for ambulance calls. The new director and program have increased personnel considerably, so additional wages are needed.

Report on Department Head Meeting

Mr. Farley reported in detail on his meeting with town 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 that out of 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 for everyone involved in any permitting process. He will remain on the committee because there are considerable revenues to be tracked through permits of all kinds.

Fuel Report from Ashby Oil Company

Ms. Vogt reported on her conversation with Pam Peeler at Ashby Oil about providing FinCom with histories of departmental fuel usage and costs over the past several years. She noted that five departments in the town receive either fuel oil or diesel oil from Ashby Oil and these historical figures should help department heads in their budgeting for FY 03. She said there was work to do to make the figures useful for department heads, but FinCom could look at that this summer. There was discussion about whether town needed to go out to bid for oil prices and committee generally hoped Ashby Oil, being closely related to the town in many ways, would offer the best prices since town would prefer to do business with them.

Presentation at Board of Selectmen Meeting

Members discussed whether it was appropriate or useful for FinCom to create a presentation about the FY02 budget process to hold at BOS meeting. Although it was generally agreed that this would a useful thing for voters to hear about FinCom’s process, committee agreed that all who are available will come to pretown meeting with prepared responses to explain FinCom’s rationale for action on warrant articles and the budget. Ms Vogt will pull together a brief summary on how FinCom prepared this year’s budget to present at that meeting on May 2. It was noted that the new moderator, in all probability Peter Rourke, will be running the May 2 meeting and will probably want to meet with FinCom prior to that date.

Other Business

Library Building Project Status

Ms. Vogt reported she had spoken with Library Trustees Chairman, Maureen Davi, after last meeting to report on the additional funds added to the library budget for special project needs. She said Ms. Davi reported the library is on schedule in its application to the state for funds for the building project. She said it looks as if library will indeed receive the state grant and is looking to a Special Town Meeting in the fall to ask the town to support the entire project.

Future Meeting Schedule for FinCom

Following dates were approved for future FinCom meetings. Ms. Vogt will post at Town Hall.

Monday, April 23, 6:30 pm

Wednesday, May 2, pretown meeting, time??

Saturday, May 5, Annual Town Meeting, Special Town Meeting, 9:30 a.m.

Monday, May 21, 6:30 pm

Monday, June 4, 6:30 pm

Monday, June 18, 6:30 pm

Monday, July 2, 6:30 pm

Monday, July 16, 6:30 pm

Monday, July 30, 6:30 pm

Monday, August 13, 6:30 pm

Monday, August 27, 6:30 pm

Monday, September 10, 6:30 pm

Monday, September 24, 6:30 pm


Membership Issues

Ms. Vogt reported that Scott Leclerc had officially notified her he would be tendering his resignation to the committee. With a young family and a new house being built, he was finding his time limited to work on the committee. She reported that a potential new member, Denny Hayes, had approached her about being on FinCom and she had referred his name to the moderator as a replacement for Scott.

In general discussion following announcement of Mr. Leclerc’s resignation, it was noted that Mr. Morey had not been regularly attending meetings for some time. In looking back over the minutes, it was determined that he, too, had missed 4 meetings in a row. The committee directed Ms Vogt to discuss this issue with the Town Moderator to see what should be done. Members present agreed that it was in the town’s best interest for FinCom to be fully staffed with seven active members.

Massachusetts Association of Finance Committees

Ms. Vogt reported there would be an annual meeting of this organization, of which Ashby FinCom is a member, on April 19 and anyone interested in attending should contact her for details.

Emergency Road Funds

Ms. Vogt reported she would be traveling with Highway Superintendent Bill Davis to Lowell on April 11 to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred during the devastating March 5 storm. She said Mr. Davis had declared a state of emergency during that storm, since funds for winter operations were long ago spent, so she was hopeful the town might be able to receive some funds from the state.


Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Peggy Roberts, Clerk