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January 4, 2005 minutes

JANUARY 4, 2005

Ms. Roberts called the meeting to order on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. at the East Windsor Town Hall

Linda Roberts, First Selectman
Al Regina, Selectman
Kenneth Crouch, Deputy First Selectman
Thomas Sinsigallo, Selectman
Michael Balf, Selectman


A.      Regular meeting minutes of December 12, 2004

MOTION: To accept the regular meeting minutes of December 12, 2004, as corrected:
Page 6 New Business, Item: East Windsor Ambulance Association re: Request for Added Appropriation, the motion made by Mr. Sinsigallo, seconded by Mr. Balf, with all members in favor, should read as follows:“To forward to the Board of Finance with no recommendation the Ambulance Association’s request for an added appropriation of $105,000 to fund a new ambulance.
                Made by Mr. Balf, seconded by Mr. Sinsigallo

        Marie DeSousa, 10 Rice Road Ms. DeSousa publicly thanked Linda Roberts, the East Windsor Police Department, the Library                         Association and the Broad Brook School for their assistance in a project for first graders at a California School involving circulating the             book “Flat Stanley”.  The library donated the books, the school circulated them, the police department gave pictures and Ms. Roberts                    donated a unique item, and the students will be receiving a nice package.
        Ms. DeSousa expressed her concern with regard to the Board and Commission appointment procedure.   The Town lost another                        individual, Noreen Farmer, who was a viable candidate for the Board of Finance, as she is serving on an agency in another town.  If the                         procedure is to be changed, it needs to be made public and shame on those who might be playing games.
        Ms. DeSousa has received no information to date from either the Boards of Finance or Selectmen on the Veteran Cemetery Perpetual                Care question.  She wanted to know how long she had to wait and what else, if anything, needs to be done to have this issue                             addressed.

Ms. Roberts addressed the Perpetual Care issue indicating it is not an agenda item and cannot be added to tonight’s joint portion of the meeting, as that is a special meeting and not conducive to added agenda items.

Gil Hayes, Rye Street
        In regards to the Perpetual Care issue, there is a letter that is to go out to the parties.   

Ms. Robert clarified that the Board of Finance needs to officially advise Ms. Roberts of the decision before action can be taken. .

VI.     COMMUNICATIONS – For the Board’s information and review:

A.      Board of Education 2005 meeting schedule;
B.      DOT 2005 Construction (Tentative Schedule);
C.      WPCA receives 2004 Regional EPA Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award;
D.      CRCOG/International Travel Package Policy;

VII.    SELECTMEN’S REPORTS (by consensus suspended until the January 18, 2005 meeting)
A.      L. Roberts, First Selectman
B.      K. Crouch, Deputy First Selectman
C.      A. Regina, Selectman
D.      T. Sinsigallo, Selectman
E.      M. Balf, Selectman


Board of Finance Members present:
Paul Catino, Chairman
Ed Farrell
William Dove
Gil Hayes
Jack Manette
Al Floyd

Joint Meeting called to order at 7:45 p.m. by Chairman Catino

1.      To present and discuss the Capital Improvement Plan for FYE 2006

Ms. Roberts presented this CIP plan to both the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance.  She went through the CIP plan with the Boards line by line, explaining project parameters and the need for these items based on the presentations made to the Committee.  The general recommendations of the financial advisor, Terry Larson were as follows
        The Town should establish a funding level that will allow more pay as you go financing for recurring capital projects.
        Historically the Town has appropriated 3.5 to 4.0 mills for the combination of capital improvements through outright purchase or                        acquired debt
        This year’s recommendation of 3.73 mills would restore the funding level that is more in keeping with the current needs of the Town.
        Deferred capital projects do not go away and accumulating needed improvements weakens infrastructure.

The CIP committee was requesting that the Selectmen also adopt the recommended CIP policy presented this evening.  Significant discussion took place with regard to this policy as it was explained.   Updated cost requests for proposals are worked into the policy b/c if a quote for an item is given and three years later it is still being funded by the CIP, it is likely the initial cost of that item has risen.  This allows the Committee to get a clear view of costs of items.  The Selectmen’s office approving CIP policy is a double check system which holds an agency from spending over budget or spending monies on another item other than it was intended.  It was stated if the CIP has been approved by the BOF and BOS there is no need for another layer. The definition of a long term lease was a lease that is one year or greater.  The Committee felt the Town should not invest CIP funds in buildings that do not belong to the Town of East Windsor.  Also vehicles purchased for a specific purpose (i.e, ambulance, fire truck) should remain the property of the Town and be leased to the Association using the vehicle.  Several questions were fielded regarding this concept, especially with as it relates to fire apparatus.  Part of this discussion also included the GASB requirements and the fact that it will be increasingly important that the Town account for all its assets and liabilities in an appropriate fashion.  If the Town funds purchase of fire apparatus (for example), but someone else has title to that vehicle, the Town has no accounting. On the reverse it was also expressed that municipal plates and Town seals infer that they are Town property.

The Committee carefully reviewed all the requests with a goal of presenting a realistic plan while meeting current and forecasting future needs.   The Committee also requested that before anything was cut from the Plan, that the BOF let the CIP make the determination, or help with the determination for said cuts, as they worked hard to put this plan together and know the intent of its goals.  Mr. Catino understood the position and respected it, but outlined it was not practical.  Ultimately it is the BOF to make the final decision and the reality of the time frames put in place should a referendum be necessary allow for limited timeframes to convene meetings. They will take this into consideration, and if possible, input will be sought.

MOTION: To approve the Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Year 2006, as presented
                Made by Mr. Regina, seconded by Mr. Crouch
                All members in favor.  Motion carried.

DISCUSSION:   The new truck sought by Park and Recreation could be immediately remedied if the Cemetery Association Truck were used by them.  Ms. Roberts outlined the difficulties in this as the Association has title to that truck.  

MOTION: To adopt the Capital Improvement Plan Policy attached hereto as Attachment A, with the “long term lease” defined as one year or greater
                Made by Mr. Crouch, seconded by Mr. Regina.
                In favor:  Crouch, Regina, Roberts
                Opposed:  Balf, Sinsigallo

2.      To discuss and respond to the auditor’s recommendations for FYE 2005

Mr. Catino addressed the room at large going through the auditors recommendations specifically, explaining each in detail.  He began by stating there is no bad news in this report. There are no areas of mismanagement or noncompliance. The recommendations are good business practical recommendations.   He also outlined the GASB 34 and 43 systems are a work in progress for every municipality in the State, it involves an incredible amount of work to get these systems up and running.

The following is what the Town proposes to do to address the auditors recommendations:

The Treasurer is in the process of utilizing a new system through Webster Bank for reconciling. The Treasurer will be instructed to direct deposit into the general fund where available.

A module has been funded and added to the Treasurer’s software.   Problems with this software are being addressed.

The funds are in place for an individual to do the infrastructure reporting.

Procedures will be established to facilitate this.  Department heads will be advised, whenever possible, they are to submit purchase orders prior to June 15.

Prior to July 1, 2006, the Town will work on establishing a comprehensive plan to address the various provisions and effects of the new post employment standards.

3.      To formulate guidelines and draft a memo for FYE 2006 budget

The two boards spent extensive time regarding the mutual goals for the upcoming budget.  The letter to the Department Heads and Agencies was overhauled completely.  By consensus, it was agreed the First Selectmen will use her judgment and take the ideas reached tonight and formulate the language into the annual letter.  She will share this with Mr. Catino.
The Boards discussed the State/Federal anticipated funding and the Town’s financial situation. It was agreed that this has to remain a status quo budget, aside from contractual obligations.  It was also firmly stated that the contractual obligations referenced in increases must be in writing.  The Board of Finance will not need that contract with the budget submission, but something does have to be in place for the Board to reference if need be.
The idea of having budgets presented and alternate budgets presented with a 5% reduction was discussed at length. The pros and cons of having this up front, versus asking for it at a later date and the “wish list” concept at budget time was discussed at length.  The idea of a 5% decrease budget would give the BOF and the taxpayers an eye toward how such a cut would effect the taxpayers and the department/agency.  
At the General meeting the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance will make a presentation as follows and outline that the budget submitted by Department/Agencies will:
        Allow the entity to operate efficiently and effectively
        Status quo budgets are to be presented.  Increases will be for contractual obligations only (proven by a signed contract on record somewhere.)  No new positions, no new programs
        To prepare for a budget reduction across the board, provide an alternate budget with a 5% reduction and provide a written explanation of how it will effect the services to the taxpayers.  It is not something that will necessarily be put in play, but it is something the Board of Finance can use for reference should the need arise.

Mr. Catino will work with the Treasurer to try to revamp the spreadsheet enclosed in the budget packet so its provides more of a summary/history of  the past, current and proposed budget.  

4.      To establish procedures for requesting added appropriations

Two issues were discussed (1) timing of added appropriations submitted for BOF agendas and (2) added appropriations referred to the BOF without a notation as to the BOS position on recommending or not recommending such requests.  This was recently the case with the added appropriation for the East Windsor Volunteer Ambulance request for new ambulance.   Both sides debated the history of the Board of Selectmen’s added appropriation motion.  It was noted that the BOS did not feel they could recommend this added appropriation as they knew the monetary standing of the Town, but did not feel it was their place to site that, as that is a Finance Board issue.  In this case, f the item was on the agenda, the First Selectmen would have addressed the Board of Finance in a presentation citing the information given to the BOS and the BOS consensus re: same.  The Board of Selectman must pass along all requests for added appropriations.  

The Board of Finance was looking for some direction from the Board of Selectmen as a courtesy, so they know what to expect when such an added appropriation appears on the calendar.  They stated they would like a specific recommendation one way or another, while the BOS is not required to do so, some kind of information exchange would be helpful.   

*As an aside, inquiry was made about a request by the Board of Education in the past for elevators for the girls locker room at the Broad Brook School.  This request has not come forward again, yet it was put forth as a necessary item per State/Federal guidelines.  Research regarding this item and where the request went needs to be done.

The Joint Meeting was concluded at 10:15 p.m.
After a brief recess the Board of Selectmen meeting continued at 10:25 p.m.

A.      Vacancies:
American Heritage River Commission:
Three reg. R, vacancy to be filled, 4-yr. term expiring 11/01/04, one 4-yr. term
Four Alt. vacancies, 4-yr. terms
Cable Television:
One reg. R, 2-yr. term
Central Regional Tourism District:
One reg. vacancy to be filled, 3-yr. term expiring 10/1/2006
Conservation Commission:
One alt. R & U, term to expire 11/01/04
Municipal Building Code Board of Appeals:
Five Regular Members
Property Maintenance Code Bd. Of Appeals:
One Reg. R or U, 4-yr. term
Water Pollution Control Authority
One alt. D or U, 4-year term

B.      Resignation(s): None

C.      Re-Appointment:
MOTION: To reappoint Carol Sargent to the North Central District Health Committee for a three year term to expire January 1, 2008
Made by Mr. Regina, seconded by Mr. Crouch
                        All members in favor.  Motion carried.

MOTION: To reappoint Ted Szymanski to the Parks and Recreation Commission for a four (4) year term to expire January 1, 2009
        Made by Mr. Sinsigallo, seconded by Mr. Balf
        All members in favor.  Motion carried.

D. New Appointments, Applications to be considered: None.

IX.     UNFINISHED BUSINESS                
A.      *Town Historian Resolution
B.      *Property located at 47 Woolam Road
C.      *Ordinance Regulating Alarm Systems
D.      *Employee Handbook
E.      *Creation of a Separate Conservation Commission
F.      *Historical Commission re: Report of Progress to date  
G.      *2004 Plan of Conservation & Development (Town Planner will review with     Board at the January 18, 2005 meeting)

A.      CCM Amicus Curiae
Ms. Roberts asked to hold on a decision for this, as she will be attending a CCM meeting in the near future and can get more information on this request.

MOTION: To table this item to the next meeting.
Made by Mr. Regina and seconded by Mr. Balf

B.      Connecticut River Watershed Request

It was agreed this should be forwarded to the River Commission with the suggestion they fund this out of their budget.
MOTION: To forward the Connecticut River Watershed Request to the River Commission for action   
                Made by Mr. Regina, seconded by Mr. Balf
                All members in favor.  Motion carried.

C.      Wear Red for Women Day Proclamation

MOTION:         To Proclaim February 4, 2005 “Wear Red for Women Day” and to adopt the attached Proclamation.
                Made by Mr. Crouch, seconded by Mr. Balf

D.      Tax Refunds

MOTION: To approve the tax refunds in the amount of $497.53 as recommended by the Tax Collector.
Made by Mr. Sinsigallo and seconded by Mr. Balf


MOTION: To adjourn at 10:30 p.m.
                Made by Mr. Sinsigallo, seconded by Mr. Balf.
Respectfully submitted,

Cynthia D. Croxford
Recording Secretary

*Starred items will not be discussed, but will remain on agenda pending receipt of additional information.