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October 30, 2008 Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at the East Windsor Town Hall at 7:05 p.m.


Denise Menard, First Selectman, Chairman
Mark Simmons
Dale Nelson
Blaine Simpkins
Len Norton
Rand Stanley
Joseph Pellegrini

Marie DeSousa (unable to attend)

Also present:  Linda Savitsky

Approval of Special Meeting Minutes of September 24, 2008

MOTION: To approve the Special Meeting Minutes of September 24, 2008, with the following correction:   Attendance:  Len Norton was present.  
Made by Ms. Nelson, seconded by Mr. Norton



Presentation by Chrissy Rocco Caruolo from Webster Bank

Ms. Caruolo was not present at the meeting as she was unable to attend. It was the consensus of the Board to hold a meeting November 12, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. Chrissy Rocco Caruolo will be present to give a presentation to the Committee an educational presentation on the definition of a capital project and what other towns are doing in terms of funding capital projects.

Review and discuss the Capital Improvement plan for the fiscal year ending 2009-2014

Ms. Menard requested that the committee members review the requests and the parameters set for CIP requests.  It was confirmed that CIP items are requests in excess of $20,000.  It was pointed out that some agency items are not in the correct range and indeed are below the $20,000.   Ms. Menard indicated if items do not fit the guidelines she will send it back to the agency, reattaching the guidelines and bring it to the agencies attention to correct before presentation or it will not be considered by the Committee.  Also, large items which would be bond issues are not capital improvement items.  Ms. Menard discussed with the members that some requests are not complete and that this Committee needs to be firm in getting back up information for these requests.   Ms. Menard will speak directly with any agencies that put in for large, possible bond, projects to explain where the CIP is going.

Ms. Savitsky indicated that the definition of a capital item really needs to be delineated and then if items are inappropriate it can be determined internally before it gets to the Committee to avoid wasting time.  For example,  software upgrades are not necessarily a capital project but part of the operating budget.   Ms. Savitsky indicated that some towns do identify the need for capital projects in the CIP, but they were essentially bonded.  It is helpful to include, for example a new senior center, in the Plan to be projected out for planning purposes.

The Committee had extensive discussion on the history of the CIP getting cut during the  budget process – and it is one of the first items to get cut.  Ms. Nelson also stated that the Board of Finance often does not get the information at budget time to justify the requests.  The idea of having the Board of Finance present for the presentations to get the information was expressed.   It was also suggested that if the CIP needs to be cut then maybe have the CIP Committee make the cuts.  

Ms. Menard also stated the idea of a policy decision by the Board of Finance to set a specific dollar amount and allocate it out specifically in each budget and then the committee determines what projects get funded.  Ms. Menard thought maybe she could discuss this with the Board of Finance.  Ms. Savitsky said it is a philosophy everyone needs to buy in to and the first year is the most difficult, but then it is the base and you move forward.  Parameters need to be set.  There is also idea of making the CIP commitment a percentage of the budget.  If economic times are down then CIP is down, if economic times are good then cip is up.  This will alleviate the CIP from becoming a target – then it is contribution CIP.  It was reiterated that in order to get LOCIP money you need to have a capital budget.   The key to this concept is the discipline to put this in place – then it promotes confidence in departments coming forward and encourages cross department cooperation and also it may promote people searching opportunities at the state level for grants.  It may also enhance funding sources as grants will be more accessible as agencies will know the money is in place – if they have a $50,000 project and can obtain $20,000 they can request $30,000.  Ms. Caruolo is also researching this and will provide the information at the next meeting.  Other towns do operate this way.  Also a different time frame will allow people to look for funding.   Ms. Savitsky took time to detail for the Committee an overview and taste of some of the funding sources available and how the town could benefit from these different sources.  (The Greater Hartford Foundation for Giving)

This is a new way of thinking capital improvement, but Ms. Caruolo at the next meeting will provide specifics on this concept.
The thought was to avoid going thru each request tonight with the Committee as some will be null and void and Ms. Menard will go through them and discuss resubmitting some of these requests.   Ms. Savitsky seconded that idea in that it may be more useful for members to hear what Ms. Caruolo has to say about the capital projects, clear definitions of what qualify and then address the projects submitted, after Ms. Menard has gone thru them and discussed cleaning up the requests making sure they comply with the parameters.

Set future meeting dates and workshops

November 12, 2008 at 5:00  - 6:30 p.m.  Town hall
December 3, 2008 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. town hall.

Additional meetings will be scheduled at the December 3, 2008 meeting.


MOTION:  To adjourn at   8:10 p.m.
Made by Mr. Stanley, Seconded by Simpkins.

Respectfully submitted,

Cynthia D. Croxford
Recording Secretary