SELECTMEN’S MEETING

MAY 24, 2005

 

 

Because Chairman Perkins was absent, Vice-Chairman Wiksten acted as Chairman for the meeting.

 

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

Selectman Bond left the meeting at 8:00 PM.

 

 

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

 

Request for Road Layout Acceptance – Woodlawn Street, Birch Circle & Mahoney Circle

 

This hearing was continued from last night.

 

The developer returned the green cards to the Selectmen’s Office.

 

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

VOTED:  To accept the layout of Woodlawn Street, Birch Circle and Mahoney Circle, located off of Cherry Street as shown on a plan entitled “Roadway As-Built and Layout Acceptance Plan of Land for Woodlawn Street - Birch Circle - Mahoney Circle in Middleboro Massachusetts”, dated June 27, 2001, revised through February 7, 2005, drawn by Outback Engineering, Inc., noting that the Planning Board has recommended favorable action.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Meeting with Finance Committee

 

Selectman Wiksten read a letter from the Town Manager regarding the budget situation.

 

Steve Studley, Chairman of the FinCom, told the Board what they had voted on the previous night.  He said, based on requested budgets from departments, the financial package negotiated was not workable based on revenue projections.  The FinCom voted not to support any of the articles at the Special Town Meeting regarding contractual increases.  He said the FinCom hopes this would “trigger bringing both parties back to the table to work on something more reasonable”. 

 

Mr. Studley said the FinCom supports revenue producing departments.  He said a 5% or 10% cut “across the board” won’t do anybody any good.  He said most departments would be devastated. 

 

Mr. Studley said a level funded budget would cause a loss of revenue because departments wouldn’t have the people in place to negotiate incoming businesses.  He said the FinCom doesn’t want to cut the Building Department because their permitting “brings in significant revenue”.

 

Mr. Studley said that some departments were cut, while others were given 2% increases.  Most were level-funded from FY’05.  To make up the difference in revenue, the FinCom proposes to underfund the health insurance by $1 million.  He said there has to be some concessions made for health copays, noting the School Department is costing $1 million per year for retired employees.

 

To make up additional monies, the FinCom is proposing an $11/month trash fee.  This would present a balanced budget.  Mr. Studley said that this was “putting a lot back on the Board of Selectmen” to get the Unions and Departments to look at Contracts in a light of our current revenue situation.  The fees would produce approximately $840,000.

 

Selectman Bond said the trash fees must have a rationale in relationship to expenses.

 

Rich Pavadore told the Board that the FinCom had taken the DPW budget for rubbish removal, added 40% for “overhead and expenses”, and divided by the number of homes in Middleboro.

 

Mr. Studley said, how the fee would be administered, would be the decision of the Selectmen.  He said the FinCom has never been in favor of producing revenue in this way, but didn’t want to see 5% - 10% cuts.

 

Jane Lopes asked if the cost to SEMASS was figured in.

 

Mr. Studley said it was not.

 

Discussion ensued on what figure should be used for a trash fee.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said it should be part of the figure.  Selectman Wiksten agreed, adding that the cost of labor would also have to be added in.

 

Mr. Studley said the FinCom was not proposing a complete offset.

 

Selectman Wiksten said it was “dangerous” to include the fee as part of the budget.  He said he would support it as a revenue source, but didn’t agree with going to Town Meeting with this factored in.

 

Discussion ensued on the budget for the Police Department. 

 

Mr. Studley said the department was level-funded “for the most part”.  He said that, if contracts go through, that department has the extra income to fund them.  He said the FinCom therefore felt that the Police Department had been overfunded.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that part of the available money is a result of six (6) positions being vacant.

 

Selectman Wiksten noted that renegotiation health insurance would take approval of all unions.  He noted that the School Department’s Contract has already been funded for the past year.

 

Selectman Andrews asked if it was illegal to underfund the health insurance.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said you can underfund the health insurance to get to the Fall Town Meeting, at which time the money would have to be replaced.  She said this was done in the 1990s, and the result was 40 people getting laid off.  After that, the Town was supposed to come up with a plan for new revenue sources.  This never happened, and as a result, there has been a structural deficit.

 

Selectman Wiksten asked the Treasurer/Collector for her feelings on underfunding.

 

Ms. MacDonald said she wouldn’t recommend this unless it was going to be refunded or renegotiated.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said she felt the FinCom’s budget was a “piecemeal approach”.  She said recommending increases in budgets would not be fiscally responsible.  She also said she disagree that the FinCom had not cut any “revenue generating” departments, noting the Police and Fire Departments were cut.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the budget needs to be a “combination” of things including reductions and additional recurring fees.

 

Mr. Pavadore said the Board is “shooting down revenue sources”.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle disagreed, saying a hearing should be held before implementing a trash fee.

 

Mr. Studley noted that the FinCom is an advisory committee who makes a recommendation.  The Selectmen are the administrative authority.

 

Ms. MacDonald said if there are no new revenue sources right now, there could be a 15 – 20% reduction in general government budgets.

 

Selectman Wiksten said departments have continually been asking to live within 2 ½ % increases.  He said the permitting process needs to be streamlined for industrial parks.

 

Selectman Wiksten said the FinCom’s presentation was a “good plan” to use as a basis.

 

Mr. Pavadore said the FinCom can readjust their numbers if the Board did not want to include the trash fees and underfunding of the health insurance.

 

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

            VOTED:  To fully fund the health insurance in the FY’06 budget.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Ms. MacDonald warned that if enough cuts weren’t made at the beginning of the fiscal year, the impact could be twice as much by fall.

 

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

VOTED:  To support a 5% reduction from FY’05 funding, including supplements made at the Fall Town Meeting, for department budgets across the Board.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Tom White asked what this vote would do, noting that a 5% cut would not be enough.

 

Selectman Wiksten said it may be able to hold or do better in September.  He said trash fees could be implemented.

 

Mr. Pavadore said the FinCom sat with every department, and gave a strategy as to where the budget was coming from.  He said there is “no work involved with the Board cutting 5%”.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the departments will make the decisions as to where cuts are made.

 

Selectman Andrews said he would support the FinCom’s endeavors to come up with an alternate plan to the 5% cuts across the board.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the Board realizes the work that needs to be done, but said an unknown factor remains what will happen with the Contracts at the Special Town Meeting.

 

Selectman Wiksten asked if the FinCom had any recommendations in regards to tabling money articles.

 

Mr. Studley said the FinCom had not reviewed the articles, but had voted not to support the contractual increases.

 

Discussion ensued on scheduling another meeting.

 

The FinCom said they will meet on Saturday to complete the budget book to send to print.

 

Chief Silva asked about working within line item totals as opposed to ledger totals.

 

The FinCom said this is its recommendation.  Any shortfalls would have to be addressed through interdepartmental transfers. 

 

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

            VOTED:  To post a meeting for Tuesday, May 31st, at 6:00 PM.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Ginny Landers, Chairman of the MJHS Reuse Committee, said she had gotten an email from the Town Manager indicating that the Board had requested the delay of the MJHS article until the fall.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the Board had instructed him to do this.

 

Ms. Landers said her Committee will be ready to go in June.  She said, if the Board directs the Committee to wait until the fall, the project will not suffer.  However, she would look for support from the Board in the fall.

 

Selectman Wiksten said he couldn’t commit to supporting the Article in the fall.  He said debt exclusion may be necessary.

 

Ms. MacDonald said, if the project goes forward, short term borrowing would be done for three (3) years and then bonding for 22 years.

 

Ms. Landers questioned if the Board would not commit to supporting the project in the fall, what benefit there was to take the project to Town Meeting now.

 

Selectman Wiksten said no one would support the project in June.

 

Steve Studley aid he would not see people getting laid off to see a building get done.  He said that wasn’t to say it’s not a viable project.

 

Jane Lopes said the MJHS Building Committee had voted to postpone the article until the fall Town Meeting if there would be lay offs.  She said $400,000 has already been invested in the project.

 

Selectman Andrews said, if the article is postponed, it would give time to have a debate for the next Town Meeting.

 

 

 

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

            VOTED:  To adjourn at 9:02 PM.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

 

 

                                                           

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN