Minutes of the Finance Committee

April 23, 2001


In attendance: New member Denny Hayes, Farley, Morey, Nash, Raymond, Roberts, and Vogt. Also present: Peter Rourke, Town Moderator.

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

Introduction of Newest Member

Ms. Vogt introduced the newest member to join the FinCom, Denny Hayes. Each current member gave a brief synopsis of her/his function on the committee and what we each bring to the FinCom as strengths. Mr. Hayes, in turn, introduced himself and filled us in on his background before and since moving to Ashby.

STM and ATM Warrant Articles

Ms. Vogt passed out copies of the warrant articles accompanied by explanations of why the FinCom approved or disapproved each. She asked for feedback as to how the articles should be presented at both meetings and if we should explain and justify our reasons specifically for each one or in a more general manner. Discussion was lively and lengthy and the pros and cons of justifying our thinking were looked at carefully. Mr. Rourke stated that he would abide by whatever decision FinCom made, but since it was going to be his first town meeting as moderator, he hoped we would not give justifications for the articles. He felt that this would be asking for a debate/discussion on each article that would make the meeting run far too long.

Ms. Vogt finally asked each member to vote on the following choices:

#1 FinCom reads each warrant article at both STM and ATM. (No votes for this choice were cast).

#2 Each department reads it‚s own articles. FinCom remains mute unless specifically asked questions. ( Members voted unanimously for this choice).

#3 Each department reads it‚s own articles. FinCom justifies approval/disapproval for each one. ( No votes for this choice were cast).

Free Cash and Possible Amendments

At town meeting, Mike MacCallum will announce that Articles 11-21 (adding up to approximatelt $161,000.00) on ATM are based on the certification of free cash. If free cash is not certified, these articles cannot be voted in. There is another possibility that the town will have more free cash than anticipated (nearly $800,000.00 in all !). Ms. Vogt reported that Dick Choate is of the opinion that the town should put extra money into free cash if we have it, so as to build a cushion for future years when the town does not have a windfall again. Discussion among members was somewhat indefinite; members seemed unsure as to where the best place to put extra money should be. Members voted to put any excess (after spending the $161,000.00) in Stabilization. From there, it would be more difficult for special interest groups to raid it and it could be moved to other accounts if necessary.

Amendments to Line Items on the Floor

Amendments will be needed for Highway Wage lines 115,116,and117 and Assessor Salary line 17. BOS and FinCom mistakenly set these line amounts at levels that were higher than what was requested. Mike MacCallum will make the motions for amending these lines at ATM.

Application to MEMA

Ms. Vogt and Bill Davis went to meeting in Lowell to learn about reimbursement plans for towns for one snowstorm in March. As a result of the meeting. Mr. Davis completed an application which will reimburse up to 75% of the costs associated with one specific 48-hour storm period. The town should receive approximately $12,000.00 to help pay for the costs of this storm clean-up.

Permit Committee Update

Mr. Farley reported on his meeting with various inspectors in town. The general consensus is that fees for permits need to be adjusted upward to make them conform more to prices set in surrounding towns. Individual inspectors also plan to get out of the money collecting end of the business. The plan, not yet in effect, is to have permit money go through the Town Collector. This will centralize the process and create a clear paper trail.

Revenue Report from FY 2000

Mr. Farley requested and received a listing of Special revenue Funds from the Town Accountant. Nancy Haines provided a listing of all the special funds in town, such as Police COPS Grant, Landfill Monitor Account, and Arts Lottery Fund (to name a few). For each account, Ms. Haines provided the balance as of 7/01/99, receipts and expenditures during FY 2000, and balance as of 6/30/00.

FinCom Meeting Attendance

Ms. Vogt reviewed by-laws which state that if a member of FinCom is absent for 4 consecutive meetings, he/she may be dismissed except for certain excuses such as illness. There was some discussion on this topic. It ended with Ms.Vogt asking members to please let her know if they are not going to be able to attend a meeting. She can be contacted either by phone or e-mail.

Minutes for Meeting on 4/09/01

Members had all reviewed minutes previously and vote was unanimous to accept minutes for the 4/09/01 meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Christopher Nash, Assistant Clerk