Minutes of the Finance Committee meeting of Wednesday, April 3, 2013.
Present were: Chairman Robert Smith, Vice Chairman Jim Lang, Clerk Denise Reyes, Ms. Meredith Anderson, Mr. Steve Currier, Ms. Maura Moroni, Ms. Jeri Screnci, and Ms. Sandra White,. Ms. Jennifer Clark-Croes entered at 7:05 p.m.
The meeting convened at 7:00 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room in Town Hall.
Also present at this time were:
Elizabeth D. Faricy, Administrator
Mr. Herb Wolfer, Sealer of Weights and Measures
Mr. Mark Morris, School Business Manager for Southeastern Regional High School
Ms. Heidi Driscoll, Academic Director at Southeastern Regional High School
Mr. Herb Wolfer, Sealer, presented budget 2440 Sealer of Weights and Measures. He stated that there are increases in the dues as it is the Town’s turn to pay for dues and meetings. Mr. Wolfer stated that he requested a $500 salary increase due to the increased work with Market Basket.
At 7:05 p.m., Ms. Jennifer Clark Croes entered the room.
There was discussion regarding which governing body has the authority to increase salaries for employees like Mr. Wolfer. Chairman Smith stated that Mr. Wolfer’s position is like that of an independent contractor.
Mr. Wolfer left the room at 7:09 p.m. At this time, Ms. Colleen Maloney, the Town’s representative on the Southeastern Regional School Committee, entered the room.
Mr. Mark Morris, School Business Manager for Southeastern Regional High School, and Ms. Colleen Maloney, of the Southeastern Regional School Committee, presented budget 3200 Southeastern Regional School. Mr. Morris stated that enrollment from West Bridgewater has increased by 9 students for a total of 34 students enrolled for Fiscal Year 2014.
Mr. Morris noted that the Southeastern Regional School Committee had not yet voted on the budget he presented. He stated that the Town’s assessment is $365,338. Mr. Morris stated that this figure is based on 100% state funding for transportation reimbursement which is reflected in the Governor’s budget recommendations.
The Committee reviewed the assessment figures for the Town. Mr. Morris stated that the assessment for the Town has increased by $58,439 from FY13. He said that is a 2.5% increase for FY14. Mr. Morris stated that the five factors that contribute to the assessment are student enrollment, enrollment as a percentage of the community, enrollment as a percentage of the district, the municipal revenue growth factor, and the percentage above or below target sharing.
The Committee then reviewed the enrollment figures for the Town over the last five years.
Mr. Morris stated that the target share could change and thus change the assessment. He said that the Governor’s budget recommendations includes 100% target share so that communities are paying accurate assessment figures rather than paying more or less, depending on each municipality’s community wealth, as has been the case in previous years.
Discussion continued regarding the Teachers Federation at Southeastern Regional and contractual increases.
At 7:36 p.m., Mr. Morris, Ms. Maloney and Ms. Driscoll left the room. At this time, Highway and Vehicle Maintenance Superintendent Len Graf entered the room.
Highway and Vehicle Maintenance Superintendent Len Graf presented budget 4210 DPW General Administration. He stated that he added line item 5280 Roadside Vegetation Control to eliminate grass and weeds that grow between the granite curbing and asphalt, breaking up the road. Mr. Graf stated that currently, the workers spin trim it but that does not kill the root and the grass grows back. He said that due to regulations and necessary licensees for applying herbicides, the work cannot be preformed in-house for less money. Mr. Graf said that he budgeted to clear the roadside vegetation for 25 roadway miles, roughly half of the Town, twice a year. He said that this is preventative maintenance and decreases the need for replacing pavement.
At 7:42 p.m., Moderator and Historical Commission Chairman James Benson entered the room.
There was discussion regarding contractual increases for Mr. Graf. Mrs. Faricy stated that the sick leave buy back benefit has been configured into the salary and that when Mr. Graf retires he will not have the ability to buy back his additional accrued sick leave.
There was discussion regarding the new employee which is fully funded for the entire year instead of half a year when he was hired.
Discussion continued regarding the necessary licenses for the Highway Department employees.
There was discussion regarding increases in the line items pertaining to longevity and licenses stipends.
Mr. Graf discussed the cost of renting an antenna for the new mandated radio system. He stated that the cost of the rent cannot be paid with the money granted at Town Meeting in 2012 and that he has to budget for it now.
Mr. Graf presented budget 4220 DPW Highway.
There was discussion regarding using other line items to cover budget costs when emergency spending must occur in different areas. Mr. Graf stated that he funds these items with the intention of getting things completed but that he must prioritize when emergencies or unexpected problems arise. Ms. Reyes asked if road work was included in this budget. Mr. Graf stated that the repaving of roads is funded through Chapter 90 funds from the state.
Mr. Graf presented budget 4230 DPW Snow Removal. He stated that currently the budget is $195,000 overspent.
There was discussion regarding the cost of treating the roads before a snow storm. Mr. Graf stated that between labor and materials, it costs $2500 to treat the roads once around Town.
Mr. Graf then presented budget 4240 DPW Street Lighting. He stated that the Town has accepted more streets and thus must pay for more street lights. Chairman Smith asked if the Street Lighting Committee was active. Moderator James Benson stated that he is currently working on reestablishing it.
Discussion continued regarding solar lighting for street lights and crosswalks.
Mr. Graf presented budget 4330 Waste Disposal. There was brief discussion regarding the hauling contract and revenue received from selling Transfer Station stickers. Mr. Graf stated that the Town does not pay for the disposal of batteries or fluorescent tubes as Veolia Technologies takes them for free as part of the host agreement.
There was discussion regarding altercations at the Transfer Station when turning away residents without stickers.
Mr. Graf presented budget 4600 Vehicle Maintenance. Mr. Graf stated that the department works on a few more vehicles.
Mr. Graf left the room at 8:27 p.m.
Moderator James Benson presented budget 1140 Moderator. He stated it was level funded.
Mr. Benson then presented budget 6910 Historical Commission. He presented documentation to the Committee concerning the recording of historical properties. He stated that filing such inventory forms makes the Town eligible for certain grants. Mr. Benson stated that large corporations could also file for tax credits if they locate on a historic property, mandating them to take certain steps to preserve the properties.
Discussion continued regarding the process by which the Historical Commission will conduct the inventory and state requirements for filing the information.
Mr. Currier confirmed that this project would be a one-time endeavor and would not continue for subsequent years. Mr. Benson stated that the commission may decide to log properties in 1870 to 1900 but that the work would be minimal for that phase.
Mr. Benson left the room at 8:37 p.m.
Mrs. Faricy presented budget 9100 Benefits. She stated that the bulk of this budget is expended early in the fiscal year because the Town receives a discount for paying early. She stated that line 5171 Workers Compensation must be budgeted for $78,000 instead of $75,000. She stated that the updated figures were received after she prepared the budget.
Discussion continued regarding the Town’s experience factor. Ms. Croes asked if there is a driving record check done for employees that drive Town vehicles. She stated that such an investigation should be conducted especially in jobs that require driving every day.
There was discussion regarding health insurance and employee contributions.
Discussion continued regarding sick time buy back.
Mrs. Faricy presented budget 9300 Insurances. She stated that all of the Town’s insurance policies are increasing and that professional liability is increasing because of the many MCAD cases that have faced the Town in recent years.
Mr. LangMOVEDto accept for review the minutes of March 20, 2013. Seconded by Mr. Currier and so voted unanimously.
There was discussion regarding the process of making any changes to the minutes and sending comments to the Recording Secretary.
Ms. ReyesMOVEDto approve the minutes of March 13, 2013. Seconded by Ms. White and so voted unanimously.
The Committee reviewed the secretary job description. Mrs. Faricy stated that she had received no changes. Mr. Currier requested an additional week to review the description.
Mr. LangMOVEDto take wait another week before voting to accept the job description. Seconded by Ms. Screnci and so voted. Smith, yes; Lang, yes; Reyes, yes; Anderson, yes; Croes, no; Currier, yes; Moroni, yes; White, yes.
The Committee reviewed a letter of request to be sent to the Board of Selectmen for placing Warrant Articles on the Town Meeting Warrant to create and fund the stabilization fund to offset costs of the new Middle/Senior High School. Ms. Reyes stated that the first sentence should have “that” added.
Mr. LangMOVEDto accept the letter as corrected. Seconded by Ms. Croes and so voted unanimously.
There was discussion regarding whether a member of the Committee should attend the Selectmen’s Meeting when they discuss this letter. Mrs. Reyes and Mr. Lang stated that they would attend the meeting on April 23, 2013.
Mrs. Faricy stated that there is a scheduling change for the Committee due to the Selectmen reviewing the budget and taking a final vote. She stated that the Selectmen will be meeting on April 17 and the Committee will begin working on the budget on April 24. The Committee agreed to this schedule.
Ms. Croes discussed reviewing promotions for staff that occurred solely to provide additional pay increases for the positions that do not need to be filled with higher level employees. Chairman Smith stated that the Committee cannot affect anything conducted by contract but that the Committee can vote to cut bottom line budgets. Mr. Currier stated that the Committee should meet with the Selectmen to share concerns.
Discussion continued regarding the Committee taking action and the department heads rearranging their budgets to fund salaries. Mrs. Faricy suggested that the Committee meet with the Selectmen in September or October before negotiations for the new contracts begin.
Ms. Moroni requested to review the budget with regards to receipts, expenses and the overall bottom line. Mrs. Faricy stated that documentation with that information would be included for next week’s meeting.
Chairman Smith stated that the Committee needs to determine if budget adjustments will be made to fund the stabilization fund to help pay the bond payments for the new school. Chairman Smith also stated that the Governor’s budget cannot really be used as a tool. He said that the House Ways and Means version of the budget is more reliable.
At 9:30 p.m., Ms. ReyesMOVEDto adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Mr. Lang and so voted unanimously.
Denise Reyes, Clerk
Respectfully submitted by Mallory E. Aronstein, Recording Secretary.
List of items in agenda packet for Wednesday, April 3, 2013
- Budgets 2440 Sealer of Weights and Measures, 3200 Southeastern Regional School, 4210 DPW General Administration, DPW Highway, DPW Snow Removal, DPW Street Lighting, 4330 Waste Disposal, 4600 Vehicle Maintenance, 1140 Moderator, 6910 Historical Commission, 9100 Benefits, and 9300/1930 Insurances
- Sample inventory form as presented by Mr. James Benson
- Minutes of March 20, 2013
- Minutes of March 13, 2013
- Draft letter to the Selectmen regarding establishing a Stabilization Fund for the new school project