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June 30, 2008 Special Meeting Minutes
JUNE 30, 2008

Ms. Menard called the special meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. at the East Windsor Town Hall, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.

Members Present:

Denise Menard, First Selectman
Edward Farrell, Selectman
Dale Nelson, Selectman
Mark Simmons, Selectman

Unable to Attend:  Gil Hayes, Deputy First Selectman

Ms. Menard distributed a “Survey of Like Communities 2008-09 Approved Budgets Spending Increases & Mill Rates” (Attachment A) and Correspondence of John F. McKenna, Esq., Goodman, Rosenthal & McKenna, P.C. dated June 30, 2008 entitled “Opinion Letter – Regarding 2008 Fiscal Year Budget” (Attachment B).

Ms. Menard detailed a meeting with the Treasurer, Assessor and Tax collector prior to legal opinion receipt.  Some skepticism of the ability of the Board of Selectmen to set the mill rate was expressed, but the legal opinion outlines the possibility and how it would work.  The Board discussed the opinion and before recessing it was the consensus that this document would be provided to the Board of Finance at their meeting later in the evening.  

Ms. Menard cited the provisions in the Town Charter which has a process in place to stop further spending on determining a budget but puts in a place a way to proceed if two referendums fail. In fact, it was detailed that one extra referendum in fact was done, as the Charter calls for two.

Ms. Menard complimented the staff through this process, detailing their willingness to meet and discuss budgets and provide further reductions with an eye toward the sensitivity to the fact that there still remained the majority No vote.  Ms. Menard distributed “Proposed Reductions to Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance For Meeting on June 30, 2008” (Attachment C) as the result of discussions with the staff.  

Mr. Farrell recommended that these reductions are fine if have to be done.  But he discussed that the Board of Selectmen provided the Town with a budget based on costs to do business.  He felt, based on the Charter provisions, it was indicated that whatever budget was given to Board of Finance to voters is going to be the cost estimated by Board of Selectmen to incur.  Mr. Farrell is stating that numbers were presented to the town and to adjust costs downward again was not necessary at this point.  Either the Board of Finance will say yes or no.   The Board of Selectmen now has the opportunity to operate the town based on costs.    Ms. Menard countered that if the voters stated the budget was too high, and the Board members are representative of the voters, the Board of Selectmen has a responsibility to take that in mind when making these latest round of decisions.   Mr. Farrell countered that he did not see the further need to cut costs – the figures in the beginning were what the Board of Selectmen recommended.   The Board of Selectmen will set mill rate – and the Board of Finance will make the next step.  Mr. Farrell stated his pitch is good intentions and if the Board does not move forward they will have messed up the end game – the ball is still in play  - to win the end game the cost original proposed are those to be used and Mr. Farrell felt the Town Counsel reaffirmed this position in the opinion letter.

Ms Nelson understood Mr. Farrell’s point, but felt that the Board, in good conscience, has to do something – not necessarily all of the recommended reductions proposed, but the Board has to respond to some degree to the townspeople.

Ms. Nelson affirmed that the department heads gave the recommendation and that it represents a 4.88% increase at the end of the day which is under 5%.  Ms. Nelson indicated it was appropriate give up something to make this palatable for all – even though there is an opinion that says this Board does not have to.  She agreed with Mr. Farrell for much of what he stated, but she disagree a little in that it was important to give the voters back something.  The Selectmen can make it as minimal as possible and maintain the ability to run the town but they have to give them back something.  

Mr. Simmons too showed some concern for no votes – which was the majority and felt going with the Department recommendations was appropriate.  Mr. Simmons further felt the voters have a voice which should be respected and the art of politics is compromise.  Therefore, the Board needs to make some concessions.  Mr. Simmons does not find the proposed reductions as cuts per say, but reductions to requested increase which are agreed to by the staff so, therefore, he has no problem with it.

Mr. Farrell felt all the Board of Selectmen had to do at this point is set the mill rate.  He thinks it is ineffective to go for added appropriations and felt it would be great to give money back at the end of the year instead.  

Prior to attending the Board of Finance meeting, Ms. DeSousa, Acting Chairperson for the Board of Finance, spoke briefly and provided that the charge the Board of Finance gave Ms. Menard was to go to staff and get further input and that was done.  

The Board discussed all of the proposed reductions at length and at the end of the discussion felt if the staff provided the reductions, then it was appropriate to present them to the Board of Finance.

Of note, there the Broad Brook Library reduction was discussed to a further degree, including the original amount requested, the amount proposed in the budget, as well as basic information about potential cd’s and stocks.  It was confirmed that there is Senior Transportation to the Warehouse Point Library.   The Broad Brook Library is not an essential service.  It was noted that this reduction was not consented to by library – it was a suggestion based on documentation and the need to make reductions.  

Also discussion took place, with input from the Town Clerk, Karen Gaudreau, regarding the grant availability for the dehumidifier.   Ms. Gaudreau indicated there are competitive grants, 10 per state per year.  The Grants she gets now are automatic. To make a bid for this competitive grant, she will need assistance with filing for it as she was not sure she could commit the time.  She and Mr. Farrell may discuss his assistance with this endeavor in the future.  The Grant can be for up to $50,000 – if the Town gets the grant it will cover the $22,000 requested.   Ms. Gaudreau gave the go ahead to take the monies out of this year’s budget request and she will apply for grant.  If the Town does not receive the grant then the monies will have only been moved out a year, setting the schedule for the dehumidifier back a year.  Ms. Nelson asked Ms. Gaudreau if she felt comfortable to give up money for this year and determine if the grant is received. Ms. Gaudreau indicated that is acceptable.  

Brief discussion on the travel and conference line took place and Ms. Menard indicated discussions included regional conferences as opposed to national conferences.  It also afforded the staff discussion on better ways of doing things and as a result this may change the way things are done for better and maybe create new ideas for in-house discussions for the future.    The concern of the Board was expressed as it is deemed that conferences and training are important for certifications.  Ms. Menard indicated that these are some reductions.  Some staff indicated no ability to cut and some staff indicated items that could be let go.  So again these reductions to conference and travel directly represent the staff input.

It was noted that the Treasurer recommended budget cuts represented clean up work made as a result of changes in the budget.

MOTION: To recommend to the Board of Finance reductions as proposed (See Attachment C) in the amount from the town side of $52,392 and  from the Board of Education of $75,000, representing a total reduction of $127,392 – bringing the Board of Selectmen                            recommendation to Board of Finance as a budget of $32,058,428, representing a spending increase for the proposed budget                         2008-2009 of 4.88%.  
Made by Ms. Nelson, Mr. Simmons

MOTION: To recess at 7:10 p.m. to attend the Board of Finance meeting.
Made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mr. Simmons

MOTION: To come out of recess at 9:17 p.m. and reconvene the meeting
Made by Ms. Nelson, seconded by Mr. Simons

Please note Mr. Hayes is present for this portion of the meeting, having arrived at the Board of Finance meeting at 8:25 p.m.

MOTION: Based on the Motion made at the Board of Finance meeting which adopted a 2008/2009 budget of $32,072,228, the Board of Selectmen set the 2008/2009 mill rate at 20.9135.

Made by Ed Farrell, seconded by Dale Nelson.

MOTION: To adjourn at 9:22 p.m.
Made by Mark Simmons, seconded by Gil Hayes.

Respectfully submitted,

Cynthia D. Croxford
Recording Secretary

Attachment A:   “Survey of Like Communities 2008-09 Approved Budgets Spending Increases & Mill Rates”
Attachment B:   Correspondence of John F. McKenna, Esq., Goodman, Rosenthal & McKenna, P.C. dated June 30, 2008 entitled “Opinion Letter – Regarding 2008       Fiscal Year Budget”
Attachment C:   “Proposed Reductions to Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance For Meeting on June 30, 2008”