SELECTMEN’S MEETING

AUGUST 5, 2002

 

Chairman Perkins called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

Selectman Rogers, Selectman Wiksten and Selectwoman Brunelle were present.

Selectman Eayrs entered the meeting at 7:50 PM.

 

Chairman Perkins began the meeting by announcing that today was the 17th anniversary of Mr. Healey being Town Manager.

 

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

Meeting with Finance Committee & Financial Officers – RE: FY ’03 Budget

Chairman Perkins explained that the legislature had concluded the State budget session last week. The Governor had made some vetoes. The legislature overrode some, but not all.

The purpose of tonight’s meeting was to have a preliminary discussion in reference to where the Town is in preparation for a Fall Town Meeting.

Mr. Healey handed out a new recap of the Revenues & Expenditures from Sandy Bernier.

Ms. Bernier told the Board that, at the conclusion of the Annual Town Meeting, there was a budgetary deficit of $1,435,515.52. When the Cherry Sheet came out last Friday, the Town had gained the following:

State-owned Land - $62,867.00; and

All other gains - $21,626.00

The Town also lost $6,620.00 in transportation. Ms. Bernier explained that a level-funded figure had been used, which has since been reduced. The total additional revenues to the Town is $77,873.00.

The offsets include $93,585.00 from wastewater, 134,130.33 from water and $15,071.81 from Gas & Electric, totaling $242,787.14.

Ms. Bernier told the Board that Roger Brunelle has reviewed the indirect costs and it is expected that another $100,000 will be raised. Mr. Healey will meet with the School Department tomorrow to review this.

Free cash had been expected to be a little over $1 million. After books closed, the Free Cash has increased by an additional $900,103. $600,000 of the additional monies came from departmental returns – including $100,000 from the Fire Department and $100,000 from the D.P.W. and $300,000 from the sale of Town-owned Land.

Mr. Healey told the Board that he had met at Senator Pacheco’s Office last Friday with a staff person from the House Ways & Means Committee. It is anticipated that there will be a $1 billion shortfall in revenue in the next year.

Mr. Healey told the Board that there is still a major piece of Town-owned land to be sold. An RFP is being drafted now. He did not anticipate that the Town would be "out of the woods" until next year or the year after. The Statehouse anticipates an ongoing problem until FY 05 or 06.

Chairman Perkins noted that the Town has "dodged the bullet" this year. He thanked those departments for cooperating with a letter that had been sent a number of months ago asking for Departments to curtail spending.

Ms. Bernier also noted that the Finance Committee had worked hard to reduce the initial budgets.

Mr. Healey noted that some things still need to be looked at – including $100,000 in cuts of overtime for the Police and $50,000 for the Fire Department. The Library also needs $22,000+ to maintain its certification.

Selectman Rogers noted that there were eight (8) items that the Board was to review which needs continued attention. They included:

  1. Bussing for secondary students
  2. Trash fees
  3. Water/sewer fee reductions for Town Departments
  4. Employee furloughs
  5. Benefit reductions
  6. Early Retirement
  7. Addressing the Structural Deficit – by Debt Exclusion
  8. Permit Fees

Selectman Rogers explained that curbside recycling costs $190,000/year. He suggested discontinuing the curbside recycling pick-up and asking residents to bring their recycling to the recycling center at the landfill. This would also save on bonding expenses for the trucks.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked Ms. MacDonald to provide information regarding furloughs, including detailed weekly payroll costs broken down by department.

Tom Tansey, Acting Chairman of the FinCom, told the Board that there are three (3) people who have expressed interested in serving on the FinCom.

Mr. Healey suggested scheduling a time to meet with Dan Sherman to discuss the Early Retirement Incentive.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED: To invite Dan Sherman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, to the meeting to be held on Monday, August 26th, to discuss Early Retirement.

Unanimous Vote.

It was noted that the Board has received a preliminary actuary report. Selectman Rogers suggested that Mr. Healey obtain various scenarios from Mr. Sherman prior to their meeting. He asked that calculations be made for those employees who have worked 29 or more years, and the top ten (10) employees from Group1. Chairman Perkins also suggested the per capita information be put in the report.

Selectman Wiksten said he had spoken to Mr. Healey about the sickleave buyback. He suggested getting information regarding spreading it out over five (5) years – a 1-5 year spread and a 3 – 5 year spread, or a lump sum at five (5) years.

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that although it appears the Town will be okay for this year, a number of the revenue sources are one(1) time sources. She suggested preparing now for next year’s budget.

Joe Correia suggested adding an item to the list that Selectman Rogers had drafted. He suggested looking at operations of all departments, not depending solely on information from the department head.

Chairman Perkins also suggested that privatizing some Town departments might be needed in the future.

Barbara Erickson, Assistant Assessor/Appraiser, told the board that the New Growth figure should be an estimated $800,000. She said the Assessors have been looking at exempt properties, and getting additional documentation. She suggested a possibility of $80,000 to $100,000 in additional New Growth. Ms. Erickson also cautioned that, unless there is further commercial development, the figure won’t be as high next year.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked the FinCom if they had looked at "0" base budgeting, asking for departments to justify the money that is spent. Mr. Correia said the FinCom has talked about this.

Mike Stagliola noted that the FinCom is "at personnel every time we do the budget" and suggested that some maintenance needs to be cut to keep employees.

Selectman Wiksten suggested the Board should begin now looking at the eight (8) suggestions, and perhaps implementing a couple of them now. He felt that the curbside recycling is a "luxury". He said no one wants to pay more, but he would support this if it would help.

Selectwoman Brunelle said she did not agree with looking ahead to next year at this time. She noted that some things need to be finalized before deciding what direction to go in.

Chairman Perkins suggested discussing the eight(8) items individually at upcoming meetings. He also said he was opposed to charging for curbside pick-up, noting that the legislature has passed a tax bill that will cost the average family $300- $400 more per year.

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that a study of the phone system at the Town Hall has been done, and as a result there will be a 40 – 50% savings this year. She suggested the School Department might also look at this. She also suggested a lower municipal water & sewer rate, and bulk purchasing.

Joe Correia noted that 80% of the budget is personnel.

Selectman Rogers suggested that a realistic number for the budget for next year be obtained by October 1st.

Ms. Bernier said that health and life insurance costs would be increasing. Ms. MacDonald noted that New Growth would be decreasing.

Mr. Stagliola suggested 5% above this years budget.

Selectman Rogers also noted that capital purchases, including cruisers, have been put off. Ms. Bernier said that will be some unexpended funditures from capital purchases on the books.

Discussion ensued on purchasing police cruisers. Mr. Tansey said that, at any given time, there are 10 – 12 cruisers sitting there.

Selectman Rogers said that the public needs to know how the Police Department runs its fleet of cruisers.

Mr. Tansey said is not saying that cruisers are not needed, but how it is perceived.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked what the balance is of the Stabilization Fund. Ms. Bernier said it is approximately $369,000 and gaining interest each month. Selectwoman Brunelle said this source should be used for purchasing cruisers, rather than bonding.

School Superintendent, Denise Walsh, told the Board that the School Department had level-funded this year, which translated to 5% reduction because of salary increases.

Joe McDonald said $1 million was needed to level fund this year. Next year it will be $1.5 million to keep level services. He also noted that the School Department had requested a new bus to accommodate special need students.

Mr. McDonald also explained that doing away with secondary bussing will not reduce the fleet. The contact has to be for the largest number of busses needed to pick up the elementary students. He noted that Dr. Sullivan has done an analysis on this.

Selectwoman Brunelle Ms. Bernier if the Certification for Free Cash has been submitted yet. Ms. Bernier said she was waiting for all figures, and should have this submitted by the end of this week.

Chairman Perkins thanked everyone for participating in the discussion tonight.

Set Special Town Meeting Date

Discussion ensued on setting the Town Meeting in September. Ms. Erickson noted that it takes 4 – 5 weeks after the Town Meeting to get the tax bills out.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Eayrs, the Board

VOTED: To hold the Fall Special Town Meeting on Monday, September 23, 2002, with the location to be announced.

Unanimous Vote.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED: To open the Warrant and set the closing date for August 26, 2002.

Unanimous Vote.

NEW BUSINESS

Request to Approve Drainage Tie-in – Don’s Way

Mr. Healey told the Board that he had received a letter from Donald Boucher requesting the Board’s approval for a drainage upgrade.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Eayrs, the Board

VOTED: to allow the developer of Don’s Way, located off of Plymouth Street, a drainage tie-in of the subdivision to drainage in Plymouth Street with the following conditions:

    1. The developer agrees to upgrade the drainage line in Plymouth Street from twelve (12) inches to eighteen (18) inches from D.M.H. #1 to the drain manhole in Route 18 (Bedford Street) and to reconstruct all catch basins and manholes this drainage project will impact.
    2. The developer will pay obtain a Permit through the Massachusetts State Highway Department, and incur all costs associated with the permit.
    3. All construction to be done to Town specifications and approved, in advance, by the Highway Superintendent and Town Manager.

Unanimous Vote.

Potential Wireless Communication Facility at Town Hall

Mr. Healey told the Board that AT&T would like to have the Town put an R.F.P. out that would request proposals for leasing the cupola tower to house a wireless facility. He asked the Board for direction.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED: To schedule a public hearing to discuss AT&T’s proposed request for a cell tower within the Town Hall.

Unanimous Vote.

Selectman Eayrs asked what the income would be. Mr. Healey said he did not know at this time.

Selectman Wiksten suggested the money could go into a separate account to be used for the maintenance of the Town Hall.

Chairman Perkins asked that Mr. Healey and the Board’s Secretary schedule the hearing.

Coliform Bacteria in the Water System

Mr. Healey informed the Board that Coliform bacteria has been found in the Carver end of the system over the past month. Carver’s Board of Health has been notified.

Mr. Healey said chlorine is being added and hydrants are being flushed. Mr. Healey said this is not a serious issue, and there is no need to boil water.

Testing is being done every day under the supervision of the D.E.P.

 

Upon motion by Selectman Wiksten and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To adjourn at 8:17 PM.

Unanimous Vote.

 

 

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN