|Approved at Bristol Budget Committee Meeting 2/8/10
BRISTOL BUDGET COMMITTEE
January 25, 2010
Andrew Hemingway- Chairman, Dave Carr, Wendy Costigan, Dorcas Gordon, Barbara Greenwood, Shaun Lagueux, Ron Preble, Jon Thouin, Ashley Dolloff, Paul Simard, Jeff Shackett, Dan Bouchard
Paul Weston, Town Manager; Christina McClay, Assessing Assistant, Department Heads
CALL TO ORDER:
Chairman Hemingway called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
REVIEW OF MINUTES:
The meeting began with a review of the minutes from January 18, 2010; Mr. Simard made a motion to accept the minutes as written and was seconded by Mr. Preble. Motion carried with all in favor.
FINAL DELIBERATION OF BUDGET:
Chairman Hemingway gave a quick explanation of how this meeting will proceed. He stated the discussion for the most part would be among the Committee members and the Department heads may participate when needed. The meeting will proceed through each department and discuss areas that need to be heard. Chairman Hemingway feels that this is healthy for the whole process.
Chairman Hemingway began the deliberation with the Executive Department. Mr. Carr asked if Line 110 showed full salary of the Town Manager. Ms. McClay replied that his salary is partially paid by the Water & Sewer Department therefore the expense line of his salary was proportionally divided between this line and line 05-4326 118. Several members questioned this split of the line item. Mr. Simard stated that he would like to see it only on the line in the Executive line 01-4130-110. Mr. Shackett said putting in a transfer of revenue from the Water and Sewer Dept could offset the payment. It was agreed that the entire salary would be placed on line 110 as previously shown.
Mr. Thouin made a motion to restore the Disability and Life Insurance lines to all the Departments. Ms. Dolloff seconded this. Mr. Thouin explained that this is a low cost benefit to the employees that we value. Mr. Bouchard asked if we could offer it and the employees pay for it. Mr. Simard referred to the public meeting by saying the towns people did not want anything added to the budget. Ms. Gordon stated that we had a good discussion about this insurance benefit when the committee was deliberating. We have not asked the employees to sacrifice anything else; therefore Ms. Gordon stated she is not in favor of this motion.
Chairman Hemingway called for a vote to restore the Disability and Life Insurance lines to all the Departments. This motion failed with 3 in favor and 9 opposed.
Moving onto the Election portion of the budget, Chairman Hemingway asked if there was any discussion. Mr. Carr made a motion to increase line 01-4140 396, Town Clerk Meetings and Memberships, to $600. Mr. Preble seconded this motion. Mr. Carr explained that this would give the Town Clerk the ability to attend the various meetings and seminars that take place throughout the year.
Chairman Hemingway called for a vote to raise line 396 to $600. This passed unanimously.
In the Financial Administration portion, Mr. Carr made a motion to increase line 561 to $700. Mr. Lagueux seconded the motion. This motion passed with 10 in favor and 2 opposed.
No one had any discussion for Property Reappraisal.
The next area for discussion was line 01-4153 320 in Legal. Mr. Shackett felt the amount stated was unrealistic and we should budget appropriately. Therefore he made a motion to raise this line item to $50,000. Ms. Greenwood seconded the motion. This passed with 9 in favor and 3 opposed.
Mr. Carr asked about Personnel Administration line 198 and the reply was that this is a line item that is no longer used. The accrued funds are transferred between funds and handled accordingly. Mr. Carr was satisfied with this reply and no action was taken regarding this line.
Chairman asked for discussion in the Planning Board, Zoning Board, and Tax Map areas. No discussion took place.
Mr. Carr commented on Line 01-4194 815 in the General Government Building portion. He realized that the people working on the Newfound Public Access are doing a great job, but this money could be put to better use elsewhere in the budget. No action was taken regarding this line item.
No discussion regarding the Cemeteries or Insurance portion of the budget.
Mr. Shackett felt that the Newfound Lakes Region Association, Line 01-4197 483 of the Reg. Assoc., deserved a second look since a brief presentation was given at the public hearing. Mr. Lagueux commented that this is not the year to ask for such an increase in funding. No action was taken regarding this line item.
Several commented on the next area, the Contingency Fund. Mr. Carr said he remembered during the deliberation meeting this fund was referred to as a Slush Fund. He said that is exactly what it has become, with the purchase of gift cards, flags and other miscellaneous items. Mr. Simard added that in the past this line item was handled a bit different than the other line items. Any expenditures from this fund were not made until the Budget Committee was notified how this money was to be spent. The Committee did not have any veto power but it made the spending from this fund more cautious. Chairman Hemingway feels that this item is not needed and would prefer to see it removed. No action was taken regarding this line 01-4199-890.
Chairman Hemingway asked if there was any discussion regarding the Police Department. Ms. Greenwood made a motion to increase the dispatch line item 01-4210 395 by $27,808 raising the total to $77,808 which is the contracted amount for dispatch service. Mr. Shackett seconded the motion. Town Manager Weston said this was the least expensive available option for dispatch. Ms. Greenwood asked if we should look at having our own dispatch. Mr. Bouchard stated that we pay way too much as compared to other towns for this service. Mr. Simard asked if we could avoid some of this fee if we answered more of our own calls. Chief Clark stated that we do answer our calls but the dispatch service allows for recording of the calls, which is a valuable tool. Mr. Carr continued the discussion by stating this service increases substantially each year and we have no say or control how our money is being used. Mr. Lagueux felt that if they are the only business for the town then they could charge what they want. It is very frustrating to see this annual increase.
Chairman Hemingway called for a vote to raise the line 395, to $77,808. This passed with 7 in favor and 5 opposed.
Mr. Simard made a motion to reduce line 01-4210 561, Special Operations Unit, to zero. Ms. Gordon seconded the motion. He stated this is redundant coverage. Chief Clark replied that the State Police cannot always be on site within 1 hour therefore it is necessary for local towns to have these units. Ms. Gordon asked who these local SWAT teams were accountable to. Chief Clark responded by explaining there is a board of directors, made up of police chiefs, and an executive board. The SWAT teams are accountable to them.
Chairman Hemingway called for a vote to decrease the Special Operations Unit funding to zero. This motion failed with 4 in favor and 7 opposed.
The first item for discussion in the Fire Department was Line 01-4220 635, Gas & Diesel. Ms. Greenwood made a motion to raise the amount to $6,173. Ms. Dolloff seconded the motion. This amount level funds it with the 2009 budget.
This motion passed with 7 in favor and 5 opposed.
Mr. Thouin made a motion to raise line 664, 1990 Engine Four, to $6500. Mr. Shackett seconded the motion. Mr. Thouin explained this increase would allow for the necessary maintenance for this truck. Mr. Lagueux asked if this was enough. Fire Chief Yannuzzi replied in the affirmative but reminded the committee that this truck is an ’89. Mr. Simard asked Fire Chief Yannuzzi how long he felt this truck would last. The Fire Chief said he has to make it last 7 years. Because the 2009 truck is financed for 7 years and he does not want two vehicles funded at the same time. He added that as long as the department is given the maintenance lines needed they will get the years needed out of the trucks.
This motion to raise the line 664 to $6500 passed with 10 in favor and 2 opposed.
Mr. Shackett made a motion to increase line item 01-4220 680, medical supplies, to $7000. Ms. Greenwood seconded the motion. Mr. Bouchard asked if the department could get by with $7000. Fire Chief Yannuzzi deferred to one of the firemen who had the information for this line item. He stated that the $9000 was needed to purchase and store the required items. Ms. Greenwood asked if this was billed out to the patients and all the money is recouped. Fire Chief Yannuzzi replied that we have an excellent 79% collecting of the billings. The Department is working harder and better at keeping track of the billings and payments. They are also becoming more aggressive in collecting the payments. Mr. Simard asked how the billing works. The Fire Chief explained that the insurance company first, then Medicare, then the patient. If after several attempts payment is not received then credit reporting and collection agencies are used.
The motion to increase medical supplies to $7000 passed with 9 in favor and 2 opposed.
Mr. Shackett made a motion to raise this line to $9000. Ms. Greenwood seconded the motion. This failed with 4 in favor and 8 opposed.
No discussion regarding the Forestry section of the budget but Mr. Bouchard made a quick statement regarding Cross Guards. He believes the school should pay for this service and not the town.
No discussion for the Emergency Management, Public Safety, Highway Dept., Highway Projects, Streets & Bridges, Solid Waste, Fire Betterment, Public Works or Land Use/Health.
Chairman Hemingway asked if there was any discussion regarding Health Agencies. Mr. Thouin made a motion to decrease the funding for NANA to zero. Mr. Bouchard seconded the motion. Mr. Bouchard commented that taxes should not be used to support private business. This motion failed with 3 in favor and 9 opposed.
No discussion regarding Welfare Admin., Recreation, Beaches, Kelley Park, Library, Patriotic, Cons. Commission, Historic District Commission, Social Services, or Principal /Debt.
Mr. Carr began the discussion regarding the Tax Section of the budget, specifically the TAN line item 01-4723 720. He stated that in the past the town did not have to borrow in anticipation of taxes. Chairman Hemingway asked the Town Clerk to confirm that we have about $1 million now and normally we have $2 to $3 million this time of year. Therefore, we will probably have to borrow before May toward the Town’s expenses until Taxes are received. The Town Clerk and the Town Manager confirmed this. Mr. Carr interjected that we wouldn’t have to if we would reduce expenses. Mr. Carr continued by stating we are spending $400,000 more than we will be taking in in revenues. Mr. Simard added that the low tax rate is cause for the low income this year. Selectmen Denning responded in agreement that there is a short fall this year and the way to make it up is by increasing the tax rate next year. Chairman Hemingway summarized the discussion by saying we know we will have to borrow soon and keep borrowing until we get this (spending) under control.
Town Manager Weston said there are three areas that make up the Town’s fiscal needs: the expenditures, determined by the town at town meeting, then the appraisal department and finally the revenues. No action was taken regarding this line item.
There was discussion pertaining to line 01-4901 750, Central Square Project in the Capital Projects portion of the budget. Mr. Carr said by showing it as an expense in budget and listing it as one of the Warrant Articles is a double posting. Town Manager Weston said this was the best way to show this item. It was asked why the library addition was not given a line item as well. Usually an item is listed and subtracted from the budget if the warrant article fails, but it could easily be added to the budget if the warrant article passes. Therefore, this line item was removed from the budget and will be added if the Town voters pass the warrant article.
Capital Equipment line 01-4902 778, Police Cruiser SUV 4x4, was the next item for discussion. Mr. Thouin made a motion to decrease this item to zero. Mr. Simard seconded the motion. Mr. Thouin explained his motion by referring to the public meeting and the cost to purchase a new cruiser was $25,000 and an Expedition was $28,000. Then an additional $4000 is needed to purchase and install the required equipment for the vehicle. He feels that the numbers do not add up and this is a potential area for getting extra money here and spending it on something else. Ms. Gordon added that she feels since we did not purchase a new police vehicle last year we should this year. But, she is not in total agreement with the SUV. Chairman Hemingway stated that one way to save some money would be to put Police Chief’s car in the line-up and let him use one of the older cruisers. He also suggested good snow tires be purchased for all the cruisers. Chairman Hemingway wants this item to go before the town and let them decide. Mr. Shackett believes a cruiser is a tool with a life expectancy and needs replacement. He would like to see the purchase of a new SUV and make it last 7 years. Mr. Shackett said having a 4x4 in the fleet is a good investment.
Chairman Hemingway called for a vote on the motion to decrease this line to zero. It failed with 2 in favor and 10 opposed.
Ms. Gordon made a motion to decrease the amount to $31,000. Mr. Preble seconded the motion. This would allow for the purchase of the $28,000 SUV and the $3000 needed for the extra equipment.
This motion failed with 5 in favor and 7 opposed.
Mr. Lagueux inquired about the backhoe - line item 01-4902 779 – it is his understanding that a used backhoe was found for the purchase price of $83,500. Does it come with all the necessary attachments and is it as good as a new one? Mr. Shackett agreed, for the small difference in price, is buying used machine a good idea. Town Manager Weston explained the used backhoe is only 1 year old and they are still researching it in regards to the attachments.
It was mentioned that the Fire Department, the Water and the Sewer Departments all came in under budget last year and should be commended for it.
That concluded the discussion on the budget.
The Budget Committee looked at and voted on 3 Warrant Articles.
Article 8 --- The Article asks the town to raise and appropriate funding for a library addition. Mr. Shackett made a motion that the Budget Committee does NOT support this article. Mr. Bouchard seconded the motion. Mr. Simard asked what the tax rate would be. Ms. Costigan did not have the new amounts but gave the rate based on a previous higher vote. It would be a 10 yr mortgage with a decreasing tax rate starting at approximate $0.53 /thousand and ending at about $0.37/thousand. Mr. Simard was not sure if an addition was the best solution, perhaps the trustees should look for an alternate site. Mr. Thouin explained that this project keeps getting postponed and the cost increases. He also questioned why the Selectmen are determining this expenditure. Ms. Greenwood added that the library has been in constant use for 125 years and with little town support over the years. Twelve years ago the plan for an addition began and the town through a survey stated many areas they wanted the library Trustees to take care of. All of those items have been taken care of. It is now time to invest into the Library. Mr. Shackett supports the library and all that it does. But at this time it is simply too much to ask of the town’s people.
Chairman Hemingway called for a vote. He emphasized the motion is NOT to support the library addition. This motion passed with 6 in favor, 5 opposed and 1 abstention.
Article 9 --- Asks the town to vote to establish a revolving fund account for the purpose of police special details. Mr. Simard made a motion that the Budget Committee does NOT recommend this article. Mr. Carr seconded this motion. Mr. Simard explained that it is dangerous for a department to accrue and expend money without any oversight. More and more departments would want to raise and spend their own funds while taking it out of the control of the taxpayers. This town ought to be able to handle the budget needs of all the departments. Mr. Lagueux asked who proposed this article. Town Manager Weston said he did, explaining that each year the police department creates revenues and each year they are not allowed to expend those specific revenues within the department. This article would separate out the special detail revenues and any grant funds received and they would be placed into this revolving fund. The Board of Selectmen would oversee the expenditures of this fund. Mr. Carr commented that in the past the revenue of this nature has gone into the general fund and it works very well that way. Mr. Bouchard questioned what the other departments would do with this type of fund. Town Manager assured the committee this Article only applies to the Police Department.
Chairman Hemingway called for a vote on the motion. The motion is to NOT recommend Article 9. The motion passed with 9 in favor, and 3 abstentions.
Article 10 --- To see if the Town would raise and appropriate funds for the Bristol Central Square Enhancement Project. Mr. Thouin made a motion to recommend this article. Ms. Gordon seconded the motion. This motion passed with 11 in favor and 1 abstention after a brief discussion.
Article 11--- To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Five million, One hundred Four thousand, Twenty dollars ($5,104,020.00) for general municipal operations.
Ms. Greenwood made a motion to recommend this Article
Mr. Bouchard seconded the motion. This motion passed 11 in favor and 1 opposed.
Mr. Simard made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Mr. Bouchard. This passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:00.
The Budget Committee does not have any scheduled meetings for February.