Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Live reporting - Finance Committee - cont'd

Free cash is the money left over from the prior budget year. The State needs to verify and validate that amount. We should have that number in a November timeframe. We will have free cash but we won't know about how much until later.

FY 10 - State has a revenue shortfall, it is very likely we'll be looking at local aid reductions of some kind. The Governor will propose, then the Legislature will need to accept. We have a couple of vacancies open and on hold in anticipation of what may come. As long as the State is in trouble, we are in trouble. We get 38% of our revenue from the State. The State funding for Chapter 70 went down for the first time in years. Probably not for the last time.

The good news is we work very well with the Schools. If it is a small cut, we'll figure it out. If it is a larger cut, we'll need some help deciding which way to go.

The Governor prepares his budget in February. We'll have an idea of what FY 11 will look like from that estimate.

The Legislature takes a break around Thanksgiving so if he makes his recommendation before then, they should take some action. We should know by Thanksgiving.

Our revenues at a local level. We have collected 99% of our property taxes.

The Meals tax fund, started Oct will show up as a quarterly payment on our Cherry sheet. The DOR gave us an estimate based upon the prior years activity. Some of that is already built into our budget.

The other one is our Hotel/Motel tax. The Town Council voted to increase that. In this fiscal year, we figure it might be about 70,000. In a full year, it would be about 150,000. This goes into the Open Space fund. We have about 1.7 million in the fund now to potentionally buy some open space as it becomes available.

The policy has been to use it for Open Space. The Council can review that. When folks see the long list of capital requirements, they would be an opportunity to use it elsewhere.

Net school spending chart to be added later.
The numbers have been trending down, currently at 1.3% over the State required minimum level.
Dropped from 4.9 to 1.3 in one year. Once it drops below zero, the pressure is to take money from elsewhere.

In 1993, local taxes paid for 70% of the Town budget, now it is down to 48%.

We have a reasonable fund balance. We don't dip into reserves. We make decisions. Financial stability is important to the bond market. We have a long term team with a good track record.

Quality education is not about spending the minimum. It is not just a legal issue it is the quality of education.

Auction at DPW at 9:00 AM.
They will try an auction in lieu of trade ins. $100 minimum for all but four items.

Q - How is the librayr sharing arrangement going.
A - Actually have a meeting this Friday per our arrangement to meet quarterly and review. I think we need to do more of this.

Q - Senate special election covered by the State
A - yes, that is what they have said

Q - Did we get any Federal Stimulus money
A - We applied for a lot but didn't get any.

Q - Museum renovations, how are they going?
A - Except for the windows, the lead time is long, the work is on schedule and on budget.
Bandstand under construction with donated money.

Town Council Candidate forum 10/26/09 at 7:00 PM in the Town Council Chambers
Also at the Senior Center, Weds, 10/28/09 at 9:30 AM

In a tough economy, driving around things are looking good.

Water rates may be in jeopardy of an increase if consumption continues to decline.

Motion to adjourn, passed 11-0

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