February 08, 2010

WARRANT & FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING

 

                                                                                                                                   

 

FEBRUARY 8, 2010                                                            

 

A.        ROLL CALL – 6:00 PM                                                        APPROVED

 

 

            Members present were:            Karl Hodgdon – Vice Chairman                                               

                                                            John Moore

                                                            James Crowley

                                                            Roger Roy

                                                                                                                       

            Members absent were:  Debi Rix – Chairman   

                                                            Elias Thomas

 

Also present were Dennis Long, Selectman and David Winchell, Road Commissioner.

 

                                                                                               

B.         APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

January 25, 2010 – A Motion was made and seconded to approve the Minutes of the Meeting of January 25, 2010 as corrected.  Roy/Crowley – 3/1 Abstention (Mr. Moore as he wasn’t present for the entire Meeting).

 

C.        NEW BUSINESS

 

1.         Discussion of Conservation Committee’s Budget Request – Mr. Long distributed a sheet from Hannah Phillips, Treasurer of the Conservation Committee, which delineated their unofficial budget request for the 2010-11 fiscal year.  He stated currently there is a $600 balance in this department’s account which is represented by a check being held by the Town Treasurer.  He said the Selectmen are unsure how to handle that check, but will make a decision after they have done some research.  He advised that the unofficial request for the upcoming fiscal year is $550 for flags and holders for the veteran graves and $100 for enrollment in the Maine Association of Conservation Commissions.  He said, in his opinion, adding the $600 being held by the Treasurer and the unofficial budget request of $650 would appear that the request is for $1,250. 

 

Mr. Moore advised the Town should be aware of who the veterans are that have a flag placed on their graves as well as the locations of the graves and that information should be part of the Town’s records.  He stated the Conservation Committee should advise the number of flags and holders that are required for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

 

After a brief further discussion, it was suggested that the discussion of this department’s budget be tabled until the official budget is submitted.

 

A Motion was made and seconded to table discussion of the Conservation Committee’s budget until the final figures and all information have been submitted.  Crowley/Moore – Unanimous.

 

2.         Updated Schedule of Meetings – At this time, the Committee set the schedule for their Meetings with the School Committee and the department heads for discussion of the proposed budgets and a vote on the same.  It was noted that after it is typed up by the secretary, it will appear on the website and the cable access channel. 

 

Mr. Long advised the Annual Town Meeting has been scheduled for June 12, 2010 and the vote on the school budget will be June 8, 2010.  He mentioned the public hearing for the school budget will take place on April 13, 2010.

 

3.         Road Commissioner Questions – Mr. Roy stated he got a telephone call from Scott Moody, Road Commissioner, who told him he had a problem with the budget figures that had been discussed.  He recommended that Mr. Moody discuss his concerns with the Board of Selectmen.  He said he thereafter received a call from David Winchell, the other Road Commissioner, who felt that he (Mr. Roy) was creating problems between the Road Commissioners.  He felt the Committee should discuss the final Highway Department figures once they are submitted.  It was his opinion those figures won’t be available until the end of April after the winter has ended because there is a potential for additional winter weather at this time, therefore, additional winter road care may be required.  He said at that time the two district budgets can be compared.

 

Mr. Hodgdon explained he has tried to work with Mr. Moody who doesn’t seem to understand that just because a road looks in poor shape that it isn’t necessarily the road that should be worked on first.  He stated he suggested that Mr. Moody review the State’s book about road maintenance as it explains the reasons.

 

Mr. Roy advised he would be in support of “no salt” zones which would reduce the salt portion of the budget.  He mentioned that Tom Cashin of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee approached the Board of Selectmen with a request the funds remaining in that committee’s budget at the end of this fiscal year be used to develop a program to reduce or eliminate the phosphates running into the area lakes. 

 

Mr. Hodgdon explained the lake association members have phosphate free fertilizer and have also produced literature for people to look at and understand the problems with the phosphates leaching into the lakes.

 

Mr. Moore felt any remaining funds in the CPIC account should be returned to the General Fund and not “rolled over”.  He said if there is a request for a new program, it should be a Warrant Article so that the voters can decide whether they want to fund it.     

 

4.         Line Item Budgets – Mr. Crowley stated how can the Town require departments that bring in a line item budget to follow the funding for each line.  He informed that in doing so it will be easy to tell whether the funds appropriated for a certain line item were used for that item.  He said the Fire Department has approximately $6,000 for training and other towns beside Acton attend those training sessions.  He suggested possibly Acton should attempt to receive some reimbursement for that service. 

 

5.         Revenue Receiving Activities – Mr. Long mentioned that the Recreation Department has incoming revenues because it charges a fee for participation in the programs it offers.  He stated the money is used to pay for expenses other then  uniforms which are generally paid for by area businesses.

 

Mr. Roy felt any department that produces revenue should include it in the budget so the voters will know where it is going.  He mentioned there was an accounting of all donations or funds given to or generated by the Ambulance Association and where they went. 

 

Mr. Crowley explained about the funds that were given to the Ambulance Association from the Acton Fair, but somehow never made it to the them. He said if anyone would like an accounting of what was given to the Ambulance

Association, they would have to telephone the Fair office.  He stated he is sure that those funds were given to the Fire Department.  He felt those funds should be reported to the Town rather than the Ambulance.

 

Mr. Long stated he was told those funds were for the Women’s Auxiliary.

 

To Mr. Crowley’s question of how many checks did the Town receive from the Fire Department as donations, Mr. Long stated he wasn’t sure, but would check with the Fire Chief.

 

6.         School Budget – At this time, there was a brief discussion concerning the 2010-11 fiscal year school budget and the increase that is being proposed by the School Committee.  The Committee expressed a concern about the amount of the increase and the affect it will have on the real estate taxes.  They thought they might put an article in the local newspaper explaining the impact the increased school budget will have on the tax rate.  They felt that would be the only way the voters will know whether to approve it or not. 

 

Mr. Roy advised this is the second year the municipal departments have reduced their budgets and this year the School Committee has requested an increase.

 

Mr. Long explained last week the Town had $600,000 in the bank, but the school and Town payroll and bills took approximately $200,000.  He said as of today, the Town has $525,000 which is due to the fact that funds have come in since the $200,000 was paid out.  He stated after the next school payroll, he would like to hold the bills that are due until there are additional funds in the Town’s account.  He advised the school payroll is approximately $70,000 and the bills are approximately $80,000.  He informed that he is trying not to borrow money since the tax revenue will be coming in as some residents pay their taxes before they are due.  He said if the Town continued to pay both payroll and bills for the school, there will only be $75,000 left in the account.  He stated the Town made an agreement with Sanford about the times Acton would pay the tuition for the students attending Sanford schools, but the School Committee didn’t agree with the schedule basing their decision on the amount of interest that would be paid if that occurred.  He said the Town made an agreement with the Sanford Institution for Savings to keep a $200,000 balance in order to obtain the interest rate it has.  He stated he would like to advise the school that the Town will only be paying its payroll and hold the bills until the funds are available. 

 

Mr. Roy stated he recalls the conversation the Committee and the Selectmen had with the School Department and the Superintendent concerning the payments to Sanford.  He stated he would have no problem doing as Mr. Long suggested.

 

Mr. Crowley felt that would be in line with general business practices since most bills can be paid within 30 days and some of them 90 days. 

 

D.        OTHER BUSINESS

 

There was no other business to come before the Committee.

 

E.         NEXT MEETING

 

 It was noted that the next two Meetings will be on Wednesday, February 17, 2010,at 7:00 PM at the Acton School.

 

 

 

 

F.         ADJOURNMENT - The Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.

 

                                                                                    Respectfully submitted,

           

 

                                                                                    ______________________________

                                                                                    ANNA M. WILLIAMS,

                                                                                    Recording Secretary