SELECTMEN’S MEETING

JUNE 16, 2005

 

 

Chairman Perkins called the meeting to order at 7:01 PM.

 

Selectman Wiksten, Selectwoman Brunelle, Selectman Bond, and Selectman Andrews were present.

 

Budget

 

Mr. Healey read a memo that he had prepared.  He proposed an alternative to increasing General Government cuts from 18% to 23%.  He said the alternative would be to cover the remaining shortfall with projected revenue increases.  He said the new landfill cell will open this year and will generate at least $200,000 more than last year when it was closed for eight (8) months.  The Private Detail Administrative Fee revenue this year is estimated to exceed $200,000 due to the Verizon work alone.  New Growth could be $200,000 higher than an earlier estimate.  And, Judy MacDonald believes that Free Cash of $200,000 could be applied to the Budget.  These four (4) items total $800,000.

 

Mr. Healey said the plan is not without risk, noting that the New Growth number will not be known until August.  Free Cash won’t be certified until September.  He said this is not “found money” but potential revenue that could be realized if worked on.

 

He also noted, because a reduction in staff hours in the Assessor’s Office and Treasurer/Collector’s Office would adversely affect the Town’s revenue generation, their budgets have been level funded.

 

Mr. Healey said department heads met and reviewed this alternative this afternoon, and expressed consensus to support it at Town Meeting.

 

Chairman Perkins asked how real the numbers are.

 

Ms. MacDonald said new growth is real.  She said the Assessors always estimate low.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked what kind of contingencies were built in for the 30 year closure and post closure monitoring work at the Landfill.

 

Mr. Healey said landfill negotiations with Waste Management are “close to hitting a wall”.  He said WM wants more of the profits than they should have, and want the Town “on the hook from a liability standpoint”.  He said a majority of the WMAC would be more comfortable with someone who has experience generating new reoccurring revenue for the town.  If that is an option, DEP will be asked to reassign some of the FAM money to purchase equipment to replace ours to property operate the landfill.

 

Mr. Healey said he spoke to DEP, and contracted services for someone to operate the Landfill can be done with the balance of the FAM funds.  The Town will not have to be asked.

 

Chairman Perkins asked if there would be enough DPW workers left to maintain the Landfill after the layoffs.

 

Mr. Healey said there would be.

 

Mr. Healey noted a benefit of spending $170,000 to take sludge somewhere else over the last 7 -8 months was the value of sludge disposal was found.  It’s $75/ton, not the $25/ton the Town has been offsetting.  This will result in an increase to $150,000 for the Town.

 

Selectman Bond noted the proposed budget, with a 5% cut, “keeps the town afloat” to some degree instead of a “wait and see philosophy” as is the budget from the FinCom.

 

Mr. Healey said it doesn’t make sense to add staff to any department. 

 

Mr. Healey said the FinCom’s budget is not a balanced budget, as is required for July 1st.

 

Mr. Healey said some adjustments may need to be made mid-year, but he believed the “risk reward factor was on our side.”

 

Mr. Healey said, that using $200,000 in Free Cash instead of $2.4 million was “huge”.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that the Board is tackling a deficit that has been carried for many years.  She said this should’ve been done 10 years ago.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said that Department Heads has made the necessary cuts in the budgets that were submitted.  She said they realize they will have to live with this budget for the full year as she anticipates there will be no adjustments in the fall.

 

Mr. Healey said the difference between the Board’s proposed budget and the FinCom’s is that the same bottom line is being used for Police, Fire and School, but the FinCom’s line items and ledger totals are not what the departments needs. 

 

Mr. Healey noted that Rich Pavadore, FinCom, has been helpful in trying to meet to recommend one (1) budget.

 

Upon motion by Selectman Bond and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED:  To ask Town Counsel if the FinCom, as an Advisory Board, can refuse a good faith request to meet with the Board.

            VOTE 3 – 2 (Selectman Andrews and Chairman Perkins opposed)

 

Mr. Healey noted that the FinCom would explain that they’re an advisory board to Town Meeting, not the Selectmen. 

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the two (2) Boards are going to be adversarial, noting that the FinCom has a responsibility to look at the finances and make the best recommendation, and the Selectmen need to present responsible information to do whatever is needed to operate the Town.  She said it is dismaying that the two (2) boards cannot work together.

 

Mr. Healey noted correspondence from the ZBA regarding cutting the hours of its clerk.

 

Chairman Perkins said money needs to be reinstated for this.

 

Upon motion by Selectman Andrews and seconded by Chairman Perkins, the Board

            VOTED:  To put $1,314 back in the ZBA budget.

            VOTE 4 – 1 (Selectwoman Brunelle opposed)

 

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Chairman Perkins, the Board

            VOTED:  To reduce the Weights and Measures budget by $2,000.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

The Peirce Trustees will be approached to fund the purchase of new weights.  If they do not fund it, it will be look at again in the fall.

 

Roger Brunelle noted that the budget book, as presented to the Board, was not a final book.  He said there were errors that needed to be corrected.

 

Upon motion by Selectman Bond and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED:  To accept the Selectmen’s Budget Recommendation subject to a final print with corrections.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Gary Russell, Police Chief, asked if the Board could vote to support a ledger total budget as opposed to a line item total.  The FinCom has already voted to support this.

 

Upon motion by Selectman Bond and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED:  To support a ledger total for the 5100 account and a ledger total for the rest of the budget.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Selectman Andrews noted a proposed letter to residents regarding the implementation of the Trash and Recycling Fees.  He reminded the Board that he had request6ed that language be added to let residents know that the Board would review the fees in six (6) months and look at a pay as you throw program.

 

Upon motion by Selectman Wiksten and seconded by Selectman Bond, the Board

            VOTED:  To rewrite the letter and include the proposed language.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

 

 

Upon motion by Selectman Wiksten and seconded by Selectman Bond, the Board

VOTED:  To enter into Executive Session at 8:08 PM, not to return to Open Session, for the purpose of discussing Contract Negotiations and Litigation.

A poll vote was taken.  Selectman Wiksten, Selectman Andrews, Selectman Bond, Selectwoman Brunelle, and Chairman Perkins approved.

            VOTE 5 – 0

 

 

                                                           

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN