Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Live reporting - Long Range Financial Planning Committee

Present: Doug Hardesty, Deb Bartlett, Orrin Bean, John Hogan, Ken Harvey, Craig DiMarzio, Graydon Smith, Tina Powderly (ex officio), Jeff Nutting (ex officio)
Absent: none

meeting opened after the committee was sworn in by Town Clerk Deb Pellegri

the group made a round of introductions

draft charter presented for discussion and revision, 'strawman'

focus on the facts and details of the financial issues

when decisions are made that will affect a multi-year outlook, the committee should be able to weigh in on those in a timely manner; would not be focusing on the day-to-day operational items, the Town Council has the oversight of the Administrator, who in turn directs the activities of the town departments.

what are the cost drivers?
They vary. Collective bargaining is a challenge. to adjust the co-pay requires talking with each of the 13 unions. The State also has a myriad of rules and regulations around purchasing, bottom line it doesn't always guarantee the best price.

Most of the expense side is statutorily driven. We do need a clerk, a health inspector, etc. However, this is no law that says we have to have a police and fire department.

We are paying for the inefficiencies of a long term parochial system which is very, very difficult to change at the local level.

"We know what we want to do it if we could do it" The more attention that is brought to it, the better chance we'll have of actually getting something done.

Charter is not finalized as we wanted to get time for people to think about it and have an opportunity to suggest changes before the Town Council does finalize it.

"come up with a document to tell the story to the town in a way that is credible"

group assignments to draw on individual preferences and strengths

review of the final report of the prior committee from last year (PDF)

review of the Chap 70 story, growth from $4M to $28M over about 15 years
due to census data from 1990's on community wealth and the rapid growth of the school population from 3,000 to 6,000

There are things that are not in the school budget that the Town provides; facilities being the major one, debt service is another.

Charter school - how is that funded? The State sends a portion of our Chap 70 directly to the Charter School. The funding formula has been debated forever.

The Governor's budget due is Jan 26th followed in the next several weeks by the House and the Senate versions with an overall conference committee agreement before getting finalized by July 1

discussion on timeline for deliverables, a brief update (similar to the mid-year report) in an April time frame with updates to sections as needed. Look at when the data will be available and include that in the timelines (i.e. the tax rates are set in Dec so would be available from the State after that).

"It is great in telling what we paid for it, can you tell me what I actually got for it?" Can we benchmark ourselves on what we are achieving?

What new analysis do we want to do and add to this document?

Next meeting Jan 26th

Franklin, MA

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