Monday, April 27, 2009

Live reporting - Q&A

Q - commendation on report, job well done. concerning peer data, if we raise our taxes, is there a guarantee that the state won't reduce and we are back where we started
A - Whalen, put the numbers together, don't think the state looks at that statistic. we should be a below average tax burden with an above average benefit

A - Zollo - if the state minimum is hit, the state will help us determine how the money will be spent. Federal stats say we should have more police/fire but that doesn't matter to the state. It does to the school side of the budget.

Q - should include the school building issues into the 5 year plan otherwise, it wouldn't be a complete report. should update this quarterly
A -those items aren't quantified but they are addressed
Q - those items need to be there.
A - from the committee standpoint, those items are being looked at, there are no firm estimates for those factors to incorporate
A - Cameron - also look at the full report, there are additional details there. We focused on how the funding works for this executive report. We recognize how important this is.
A - Hardesty - information needs to get out, the details should be available when those decisions need to be made.

A - Zollo - the committee debated internally, we will come up with some alternatives, the relaity is what it is. The Town needs to be aware of other capital expenses. The funds for those could come from two sources, (1) Debt exclusion (expires when debt is paid off) (2) override (raises tax permanently). Differences between town fical funding options. But not out of the operational budget.
A - Whalen - in comparison with our peers, we are below the peers in debt service
A - Roche - transparency, dashboard on the website, but once the budget is set, the budget numbers don't really change. In most cases, the state number once given is set, unless there is unique circumstances, the state doesn't take away the money.

- side note - provided advice to the committee that some of the comments are coming across as defensive of the report when they should be soliciting feedback from the community

Q - when is the decision coming on the high school
A - Nutting - the building is not in that bad shape compared to other schools they have been into. We don't know when they will committee. They will not commit at this point. In six-nine months, maybe they'll give us an answer. We don't have it and we are continuing to pursue it.

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