Board of Finance Budget Workshop
April 22, 2009
Meeting called to order at 6:01 in meeting room at Town Hall
Present: Chairman Marie DeSousa, Members Jason Bowsza, Albert Floyd, Robert Little, Jack Mannette, and Alternates Adam Mehan and Kathy Pippin. Alternate Mehan was made a voting member for this meeting. Absent: JoAnn Kubick (7:25) Also present: First Selectman Denise Menard and Town Treasurer Catherine Cabral.
Chairman DeSousa began the workshop by citing articles regarding legislation of the State of Connecticut, CCM information, articles on Fox61.com all pertaining to how municipalities are dealing with the current economy and building their budgets for fiscal year 2009-2010. She also stated her disappointment regarding a quote in the Journal Inquirer about a “part of a terrorist cell” and will be addressing that with the initiator of the comment at a later date. Chairman DeSousa stated that all boards and their members are working very hard for the Town of East Windsor to build the best possible budget possible.
Chairman DeSousa also recommended that people visit the CCM website, select a town and see what other towns are being faced with during this budget season.
Town Treasurer Catherine Cabral presented a spreadsheet with multiple scenarios for the proposed budget. After a very lengthy, impassioned discussion, covering every feasible option, the board made the following observations:
Each town department and agency has made drastic cuts and sacrifices in their budgets. Services will be reduced or suspended, jobs will be lost, fund balances will be reduced. No one has taken their charge lightly and the board has exhausted all avenues.
It was determined that the voters need to have a chance to decide what the final outcome will be.
In order to restructure some previous budget scenarios,
Mr. Mannette made a motion to rescind a previous meeting’s motion to reduce the Board of Education budget by $465,000.00. Motion was seconded by Mr. Little. Motion carried.
Mr. Manette made a motion to rescind a previous meeting’s motion to reduce the Board of Selectman’s budget by $392,523.00. Motion was seconded by Mr. Floyd. Motion carried.
As of 7:28, upon the arrival of Ms. Kubick, Mr. Mehan was no longer a voting member at the workshop.
Ms. Kubick was brought up to speed regarding the night’s discussions to this point.
Mr. Little made a motion to reduce the Town Government’s and Board of Education’s budget expenditures proportionately to total a 3% increase. Motion was seconded by Mr. Mannette. Motion failed. Those in favor: Members Little and Mannette. Opposed: Members Bowsza, Floyd and Kubick.
Mr. Little made a motion to present a budget in the amount of a 3.64% increase. Motion seconded by Member Floyd. Motion failed. Those in favor: Members Floyd, Little. Opposed: Members Bowsza, Kubick and Mannette.
Ms. Kubick made a motion to present a budget in the amount of a 4.53% increase. Motion seconded by Member Bowsza. Discussion: Ms. Kubick said that it is important to give the townspeople the opportunity to decide whether to make additional cuts. Also, this proposal would mean less than a 1 mill increase. Motion failed.
Those in favor: Members Bowsza, Kubick. Opposed: Members Floyd, Little, Mannette.
At this juncture, Chairman DeSousa reminded the board that the mindset should be to approve and present the best possible budget for the town on the first “go-round”. The board should not be operating on the premise that there should be a second choice.
Members Little and Mannette commented on the plight of surrounding towns and how many of them are presenting no higher than 3% budget increases. Chairman DeSousa responded that it’s not prudent to compare any town to another because of the variables with each town i.e. fund balances, mill rates, etc. Perhaps those towns are depleting a fund balance that is higher than East Windsor’s to reach that 3%.
Chairman DeSousa made a motion to present a 3.99% proposed budget to the town. Motion was seconded by Member Bowsza. This budget would be an 8/10 mill increase.
Those in favor: Member Floyd. Opposed: Members Bowsza, Little, Kubick and Mannette. Motion failed
Chairman DeSousa called for a 5 minute recess at 8:10 p.m.
Meeting reconvened at 8:18 p.m. Chairman DeSousa polled the board for their recommendations on the proposed budget. No consensus emerged.
Chairman DeSousa addressed the petition that was presented to the Board of Finance prior to the start of the meeting with 144 voter signatures requesting that the $465,000 be restored to the Board of Education budget. She said that it is the responsibility of the board to consider the request. Ms. DeSousa then refreshed the board members on what their consensus votes were and stated that there was too much flip-flopping and made the observation that the 3% that was being advocated at this meeting was substantially lower than what the board had agreed upon the previous week.
Upon motion by Mr. Floyd, seconded by Mr. Bowsza it was voted to propose a 3.994% budget increase at the Town Budget Hearing. In favor: Members Bowsza, Floyd and Kubick. Opposed: Members Little and Mannette. Motion carried.
Upon motion by Mr. Bowsza, seconded by Mr. Floyd, it was voted to adjourn at 9:18.