Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee

Present: Jim Roche, Scott Mason, Sue Rohrbach, Steve Whalen, Doug Hardesty, Deb Bartlett, Brendan Morrison, Jeff Nutting, Shannon Zollo (late)
Absent: Roberta Trahan, Rebecca Cameron

Oct 8th 2009 minutes to be approved, motion to approve, passed.

Motion for Doug Hardesty to be chair, seconded, passed
Held off on other positions until some of the paperwork gets through to make the revisions to the committee "official".

The mix of the committee will now be

  • 3 members of the Town Council (Mason, Whalen, Zollo)
  • 2 from the Finance Committee (Roche, Cameron) 
  • 2 from the School Committee (Trahan, Rohrbach)
  • 3 citizens (Bartlett, Hardesty, Morrison)

First objective of this meeting to hear from Jeff Nutting on the budget update and start from there

estimated total revenues

  • FY 09 - 88.3  
  • FY 10 - 89.0 
  • FY 11 - 88.6 

The FY 11 numbers are based upon Senate numbers, House numbers have not yet been released
overall 4% decline with local receipts and state aid

State Aid maybe a little higher with local receipts a little lower
Will have a better handle in 2-3 weeks when Legislature makes some decisions
House Ways/Means budget usually available around school vacation

Usually the House number doesn't get lower so it can be used as a baseline

Total Town deficit currently about 3.3 to 3.5M (combined Town and Schools)

The FY 10 budget has the deferred cost of living increase (COLA) wage increase for the brief portion of June for the last pay period into July 1. The FY 11 does not have anything currently budgeted for COLA increases for any of the "to be negotiated" agreements with the bargaining units.

Town departmental budgets will be coming in flat with increases only in areas where known expenses have increased (i.e. gasoline cost up $100,000 over last year).

Positions where folks have left (resigned) have not been re-filled with new folks.

Steve Whalen provides an update on his spreadsheet with the comparisons amongst the 31 communities
Franklin is 3 of 31 in population growth; Hopkinton for example grew at a faster rate although less in total.
Franklin is 22 of 31 for per pupil spending, 9,995; 2 years later up only $400 but sunk to 28th
- Wrentham needs to be looked at, it maybe a K-8 district (i.e. King Phillip Regional has the high school)

Franklin was 13th for teacher salary, now we are at 5th (due to the teacher reductions on the lower end of the salary scale). The School Board has also acknowledged keeping the teachers in a competitive position as that affects the student performance in the classroom

2009 property tax bill 22nd then, 22nd now

residential tax burden was 25th, still 25th

to give a general sense of how much debt we have, we haven't changed position, hence we are well managed

Franklin is 20% below the medium on tax burden but we are 76% above the medium on State aid returned to the community! This is the significant issue that will hurt us until we lessen our dependence upon State Aid.

the next two sheets break out by towns with single vs. split tax rates
the consequences of the decision to remain with a single tax rate need to be fully understood.
we are ranked 11th on tax rate for communities where they do have a split tax rate.
we are ranked 12th on tax rate for communities with a single tax rate
we have a lower tax burden and lower tax rate against comparable communities with either a single or split tax rate.

we are trying to do something that is impossible, to have a really low tax rate and a high quality of living

we are a well run, efficient, lean town that doesn't have a lot of taxes.
27 communities are sacrificing more (i.e. paying higher taxes) to get less results (i.e. MCAS performance) than we are getting

the biggest exposure we have is our reliance on State Aid.
need to find a way to make these numbers human readable

After Steve's update the discussion turned to overall process:

  • What annual date should we have as a target to update the full set of numbers?
  • How do we incorporate an update with what the forecasted numbers were? need to tell the story on the reconciliation (where we were vs where we are)
  • Extend the analysis by a year.
  • Need to also update the progress on the action items

What is the timing for bringing this to the Town Council as part of the budget process?
Should be ready for the Apr 28th meeting

next meeting 3/31/10 7:00 PM

Franklin, MA

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