Board of Finance
Board of Selectman
Joint Meeting Minutes
March 31, 2009
- TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING
The joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance was called to order at 7:40 p.m. at the East Windsor High School.
BOARD OF FINANCE
Marie DeSousa, Chairman
Unable to attend: Joanne Koubek (scheduled)
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
Denise Menard, First Selectman
Gilbert Hayes, Deputy First Selectman
Dale Nelson, Selectman
Mark Simmons, Selectman
Unable to attend: Edward Farrell, Selectman (scheduled)
Also in attendance: Catherine Cabral, Treasurer
Ms. Menard presented the Selectmen’s budgets (a continuation of the 3/25/09 meeting):
(Presented on 3/25/09 were 1145; 2160; 3185; 6310; 8430; and 8440.)
1010 Selectmen: A budget detail for this line item was provided to all board members and reviewed. No questions were presented.
1015 Town Counsel & Legal: No increase recommended. There are two union contracts (police department and clerical), one near the end of negotiation, one going to arbitration which may both carry over to next year. Public works has contract that is up June 30, 2009 coming up for negotiations. Also there are ongoing litigations to be considered.
1055 Probate Court: No increase. While initially an increase was proposed, Ms. Menard contacted the probate judge requesting a decrease, in essence the same as last year. It was inquired if this is something that will be regionalized, but it was stated the current probate judge indicated that the South Windsor and East Windsor probate is considered to be regionalized already.
1070 Advertising & Printing: The Hartford Courant is being used instead of the Journal Inquirer as it is reducing the costs significantly. A 50% reduction is proposed, as it is unknown what the actual reduction will be, but it is thought it might be closer to a 60% reduction. They do not want to reduce the printing for the annual report too much, while it has changed in what is printed, some information should still be in the report, so funds are there to accommodate that.
1085 Town Property: Ms. Menard detailed some of the facility repairs from town property that have been necessary. The salary is the full time custodian who does the town hall, the town hall annex, the senior center and the town garage. That is position is part of the public works union. A Town Property Budget detail sheet was provided.
4205 Collection and Disposal: ‘Other’ is for the need of a dumpster from time to time, for instance at the town garage. Ms. Menard has proposed a 10% increase and entered into negotiations with that contract. Ms. Menard is meeting with the hauling company April 1st. The Board of Selectmen at a previous meeting eliminated the collection of bulky waste, but will have a day for this waste at a specific place and the town will pay the tipping fee. This will save $130,000 off contract as the town was charged every week for every household and it is was not being used. Also being investigated is the potential of every other week recycling; also the routes are being looked at and collection is reduced from 5 days to 4 days. The various ideas for bulk waste collection were
discussed and again it will all be discussed on April 1. Ms. Menard has not seen a lot of negative push back from residents for this idea, but the concern for trash along the roadways was discussed. The group at large discussed what area town has for various programs and the individuals paying for trash removal.
A CRRA related question was asked regarding the money allocated to municipalities for the CRRA law suit. Ms. Cabral indicated it is in an escrow account $200,000; as well as an additional $69,000 received, to be held until the CRRA litigation is concluded. There is minimal % interest on that money, but at this point the money and interest need to stay in the escrow account until the lawsuit is concluded.
5210 Vital Statistics: Ms. Menard very briefly mentioned each agency. North Central Health does the inspection of septic systems. Ms. Menard requested that cost be same as last year and was denied. North Central Health is used by the community and an inexpensive way to get services to the residents. (It was inquired why the budget line is kept in the budget for those agencies we no longer use – Ms. Cabral indicated the difficulties in printing with this and the fact that anything with histories in it on the reports cannot be deleted.) The various agencies that provide mental health services were briefly over viewed and letters within the budget packets referred to. Ms. Menard’s office called all of these agencies to see if anyone could present status quo requests
with no increase and all responded that was not possible. Due to the times these services are used more frequently by E.W. residents.
5240 Ambulance Association: This contract is up this year. Ms. Menard met with the Chief and requested they renew for $100,000 a year; as the town provides the building. The Board of Selectmen has discussed the concept that that if that is not agreed to a request for proposal (RFP) may be sought for ambulance services. It was asked if an RFP comes in higher than the budgeted amount of $125,000 that could be a problem. Ms. Menard detailed the ambulance services the town receives through this contract. She also detailed the improvements to the living quarters of the ambulance and mentioned the condition of the facility in the past. Ms. Menard indicated that discussions have been ongoing and she is working with the Chief of the Association to get some numbers together.
5245 Medical: $10,000 of this went to the fire departments so all the fire departments pieces is in one place presenting a picture of the financial support given to the fire departments. The monies remaining are for random drug testing, driver physicals, etc.
TREASURER PRESENTATION: Ms. Cabral provided handouts and presented the following budgets:
1020 Town Auditor: Within this line, it was inquired about the $7,000 to appropriate for GASB and if that is an added appropriation? Ms. Cabral explained this is not used this year, but encumbered for next year, so $14,000 will be spent on that next year.
1025 Treasurer: The specific sheets were given to the board to review, it was noted the IT portion is removed. The 11.27% department increase was noted, but it was reminded that the IT portion is out and the pension administrator salary was part of the 1025 budget. Salary line $14,000 increase noted. It was stated $4,000 has to do with the pension administrator and there is no increase over contractual and no what is in this present year budgeted.
1065 Pension: There was a meeting this morning regarding this item and the Treasurer’s office worked together to provide these figures at the meeting, which were distributed by Ms. Cabral to all the board members. There is not an increase in the Treasurer salary for the pension portion – as one big figure is seen. The pension salary line item no longer exists – the Treasurer’s salary is her salary and no increase. The pension committee did not meet much last year, but has met and anticipates meetings to occur. Pension calculations for the Town portion/contribution and for next year have been calculated. Employee contributions are broken down by departments and is at a 0% increase, so if there is fluctuation in salaries that will have to be adjusted as
well. This pension number will be part of the employee benefits line at the end of each section.
The numbers presented are just for this year contribution – the recommendation is, due to volatility of market, to add money at this time it is a high probability of loss. The amount will get the town higher up in the Town percentage of the funding at a gradual way and shows the town is progressing in trying to fund the pension to a fully funded pension. It shows, in increments, the town has a path to get to fully funded. Amortization schedules for the progression were discussed.
1195; 2195; 3195; 5295; 6395; Employee Benefits: A packet of materials was distributed with this information, it was noted that the pension piece is not yet part of those materials as the meeting was held today, but it will be there in the near future.
Health Benefits. Ms. Cabral made that that for all of the vendors that dominate a substantial piece of the town budget Ms. Cabral/Ms. Menard sought better numbers. At this point in time it is a 13% increase in health insurance that is significantly decreased from the initial numbers provided after several man hours of investigation regarding the same. Also taken into consideration when determining the level of healthcare services has to be what is required by union contract. There is an effort to share services as well. The life insurance and dental insurance have gone down as well and additional information has been made available for better services at a lower cost. (In February, it was reported that the national average for health benefit increases was 25%.)
It was noted that Police Department and Public Works have retirement enhancement.
CIP 9445-9447: Backup was distributed to the Board and Ms. Cabral explained the multi year contribution items (i.e. chip sealing; assessor reval)
9500 Debt Service has been reduced for this year and the new fire truck is budgeted, principal and interest.
7350 Unemployment: Funded at $12,000.
BOARD OF SELECTMEN RECAP OF RECOMMENDED CHANGES:
Ms. Menard reviewed in detail for the Board of Finance the Saturday, March 28, 2009 minutes of the Board of Selectmen Special meeting; explaining some view points, including removal of overtime and encouragement of comp time; the zero salary increase rationale, as well as the IT portions were removed from individual departments to the IT budget. The following details the joint specific discussions held at tonight’s meeting regarding the September 28, Board of Selection action and recommendations.
The Boards took time to discuss “comp time” theories, practices and dangers. Initially Ms. Cabral spoke to this. Her theory and understanding of comp time is that when comp time was developed it was developed because employers could not afford to pay the overtime, so what they offered to the employees was a period of time that they had the flexibility of giving them during the day, in lieu of payment – allowing for more flexibility to do something they need to do instead of overtime money. That is the give and take of comp time.
Extensive discussion on this item and its quandaries and the rationale of comp time vs. overtime was discussed. Concerns were expressed about time and a half received for overtime versus the comp time received. Much discussion was held regarding the immediate use of comp time so as it is not accrued. Also discussion took place regarding comp time specifics within contracts as well as past practices and personnel/supervisor understandings as to how comp time is to be currently managed. The use of overtime as absolute was discussed; as opposed to the potential liabilities of the comp time. No decisions or directives were made in this regard, just general discussion.
As Ms. Menard receives emails regarding response to the budget recommendations she forwards the emails on so all can see. An email the building inspector sent out in response to the recommended cuts was discussed. The Park and Recreation email was mentioned as well. Ms. Menard detailed Department Supervisor meetings held with her and Ms. Cabral to discuss these issues, which is a new procedure.
It was noted the Planning salary increase $931 does not reflect the proposed increase of $2496. The salary line in there for newly hired zoning enforcement assistant planner was hired at less salary than they did last year. The supervisors union does not include the assistant planner.
It was asked if the supervisors union has agreed to a zero percent increase. Ms. Menard indicated no firm response yet, but there is a drop dead date. There was a worry that with putting 0% increases in this proposed budget does not present an appropriate picture, should the proposed increase for contract remain in the budget and be removed if the 0% is agreed to. Ms. Menard indicated that the unions are to respond by April 10 – there was concern with the budget timeframes in connection with that date.
The two Senior Center vans recommended purchasing from lease is something Ms. Cabral is investigating. The time frame of such an offer was discussed. Ms. Cabral indicated once the paperwork is received for the offer there is a timeframe – but no timeframes have been put in place yet. The potential funding thru Capital nonrecurring was discussed.
It was asked and acknowledged that nothing was changed within the Police budget as the Police Commission does that budget and the Selectmen felt it was an appropriate budget. Fire Departments were discussed briefly and it was acknowledged that the WHPFD driveway was not funded.
The mandatory overtime for Parks and Recreation was discussed and examples of mandatory overtime, including mowing after rainy periods or snow removal with the public works department was reviewed.
The travel time expenses and the policies for timely submission of travel time was discussed and reiterated, as well as use of the town vehicle which alleviates the need for a travel expense line.
The treasurer was asked to provide a detail of salaries for the Board of Finance. The treasurer will also provide the Board of Finance with a spreadsheet of the Selectmen recommendations. Ms. Cabral also detailed the sheets she will be giving the Board of Finance for their reference during this budget season.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
Cynthia D. Croxford