Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Jun 5, 2012

Present: Feldman, Goldsmith, Dufour, Quinn, Roche, Messere, Dewsnap, Smith
Absent: Huempfner

Jeff Nutting, Susan Gagner, Jim Dacey

Approval of meeting minutes (list of meetings to be added)
Announcement and recognition of service on committee and in particular with the meeting notes by Phyllis Messere who has decided not to return after June 30, 2012

Note: the general Stabilization account has decreased by the $350,000 used in the recently approved budget and should be $4,779K not the $5,129K shown

Action items

Fire Dept
amount to be transferred not exactly known, this is the working number. If it is over, it will end up in free cash. If it is short, he'll need to comeback for more. We do know that it is needed.

Q - on policy for free cash?
A - no specific policy to set the amount, it fluctuates from year to year. Varies year to year on expense side and of course on the revenue side we do under forecast to ensure we have enough. Consistently between 2 and 3 million.

Q - questioning about the free cash as it relates to decisions tonight
A - we normally would have used much of the free cash for snow and ice but with the weather we are benefiting and using it elsewhere
A - the policy I think you are referring to, is the target for the stabilization amount

Q - we are giving guidance?
A - This is a result of folks being out injured that were not anticipated at the time the approval was made to increase the Fire Dept to be able to staff the two ambulances

Ending up voicing approval in concept but not for a specific dollar amount

While we have money now, let's take the opportunity to put some money aside for when we will need it. Money is appropriated annually and what is left over goes into the trust, the trust has gone down and we are trying to put some money into the trust

motion to appropriate $50K to the unemployment trust fund
Approved 8-0

Street Acceptance
putting money into this account to allow for public notices on street takings, increasing our amount of streets also increases our state aid reimbursement, do need to plow etc. but to reconstruct the street itself, we can't do it without the street ownership (i.e. public way)

Q - what would it cost to take all of them?
A - I don't know, we are trying to take the easy ones first. There might be title research required. In the newer sub-divisions the street was owned by the developer, in the older developments, the street may have been owned by each of the home owners to the middle of the street.

Q - the whole process was too expensive
A - under the home rule now, it is easier, some will be free, some will cost something depending upon the research required, maps updated, etc. I can keep track and report back as we go

Motion to appropriate $25K for street acceptance
Passed 8-0

Spreadsheet provided as handout

This shows the various projects and the sourcing of the funds associated with each. Some accounts are being closed (rolling over their amounts to the projects).

DPW storage facility needed to replace building approved to be torn down and to replace the space to be lost when the new high school comes online (existing space at the High School is used by DPW)

Davis Thayer, the modular units will be going away over the next three years, the space at the school will be needed. This is to get an estimate

DelCarte dams are to going to bid later this year, while we have some time and the money available, put it aside now.

Senior Center was built with a second floor but it was not built out. From the census, the estimate of the senior population for Franklin is shown as 2500 in 1990, about 4500 now, and 7600 in the next several years as the 'baby boomers' age.

Artificial turf fields supposed to get 15 year services, no fields have lasted that long, we are at 8 years now, let's put some money aside now so when it does come time we'll have some money to do so

Fire truck - put some money aside as we are on a rotation program replacing trucks regularly instead of all of them at once.

Just received word that the Lincoln St bridge will need to be repaired, our share could be $350K
Old museum and old municipal building could be items for the future

Roche - I applaud that we are looking ahead. We are planning, a lot of it happens in the back ground. We have talked quite a bit of these items in the budget subcommittees. There is thought and planning behind this. This is a level of planning that is thinking ahead. We are taking this moeny now and moving it ahead. Some of this is still at the beginning of the discussion.

Q - stabilization accounts, requires separate votes to go into and take out of. Any administrative issues?
A - we have 65 bank accounts so three more won't be an issue

Davis Thayer
Parmenter portables will be removed in June, you already appropriated $70K for that. The school needs some facilities work, elevator and ADA accessibility to be addressed. We'll only have the summer to do the work so it would be a several year project and want to get the estimates for it.

Q - how long?
A - if you get the study, then you get the architect, it will take some time, no later than 2014 but it may go into 2015. Once we knew what the work was, we could figure out how it would affect our bond planning. Our debt is on decline so we have some opportunity.

When we stared out debt plan years ago, it was many lines now it is down, only the debt excluded lines remain. If we can keep our 3-3.5% debt, it can be useful for what we would need to do

motion to appropriate $25,144 for the Davis Thayer study
passed 8-0

Senior Center Improvements Stabilization Fund
We could use more adult day care but we are doing fine now, and these others are more of a priority
If you segregate them, it is easier to track. If you have it all as one, something could come along and someone would get upset if the money was used for something else. We have done this in the past for the DPW and the Debt Stabilzation, the State also recognized the need and now allows this where before it was only one account.

At the end of the day, the Council by a 2/3 vote can change this and take the money

We are not locking ourselves into this, we are funding this a year at a time. In some years, it may be more or less. If you want to expand the Senior Center, we will need the money.

The policy is on the general stabilization account and not on these other accounts.

Motion to appropriate $150K for Senior Center
passed 8-0

Fire Truck Stabilization
motion to appropriate $75K for Fire truck
passed 8-0

Athletic Fields Capital Improvement
About a half million dollars per field at today's dollars, we're planning ahead and the amount might end up being shy but we'll be closer than not having any money set aside

motion to appropriate $150K
passed 8-0

DPW building
This is for the cheaper option but we don't want to come back if we can avoid it. If there is anything left over, it can be re-allocated. One building to replace two existing facilities. A good portion coming from the snow and ice budget that we did not need to use this year

Q - given the history on snow and ice, is this okay?
A - we have changed our process operationally and the price of salt has come down. We may not hit our peak again.

Q - I am not questioning the projects, just looking to help cover us for the snow and ice
A - we usually watch the winter carefully and use the free cash to cover us for snow and ice before we do our capital accounts

Nutting - There is no DPW space in the model school program. This was the old shop. We are not replacing half of it between what we are loosing and what we are asking for. We can get small containers for temp storage. A wood building won't last as long as a steel building but if we can get 40 years out of it, we'll be doing good.

motion to appropriate $630,000
passed 8-0

Panther Way/Streets - Roads
Our original plan was for $400K but we have changed that with these proposals

Yes, the roads are a pressing need and more money should be put there. With a 25 million exposure, $750K is not much

Q - Is there much foot traffic there now?
A - Not today but with the re-design of the school, the street will be more of a through way. If you build it they will come.

Q - re-doing the old pool?
A - yes, the sculpture and walkways will be coming, that will increase traffic also

Brutus Cantoreggi, DPW Director - every road we are looking at, we are reducing the road width, removing sidewalks, doing storm water treatments with catch basins, etc. Putting rain gardens into cul-de-sacs reduces the cost of work and ongoing maintenance as well as handling the storm water

motion to appropriate $750K
passed 8-0

DelCarte dam repairs
7 dams, one is registered which means we are legally liable for it to be repaired
earthen dams with concrete sluceways that are falling apart
if we don't fix them, we will end up with more mosquitoes
the DPW was able to make a road way into the property to help save some money

The problem with getting to dam 5 is access is almost impossible without huge cost

Q - The 1.4 million is a one time cost
A - yes, the grant would cover the recreation trails. Inspection every year could be done with our staff, no other recurring costs per se.

Q - any other federal or state opportunities for the dams?
A - we have looked, not likely

Q - could we approve and not get permission?
A - the dams are in conservation control, the recreation land is in town hands so it is in our control. We have to front the money and then get reimburse with the grant. We do have some money in the open space account that we could use but would rather use the grant

Nick Alferi - Conservation agent
We'd like to get the bid out this summer and get both dams done at the same time. We are not likely to have the same building schedule during next winter but we still should be done in a year. The playground would be done after the dams are repaired.

We would do the repairs first and then the playground so we wouldn't be running construction vehicles over the new playground. The good news is that we have the money from Four Corners (where Walgreen's is) for recreation and open space.

Motion to appropriate $1.4 million
Passed 8-0

There will be a vacancy on the Finance Committee, send your interest to Jeff Nutting

Assume next meeting in Sep

motion to adjourn
passed 8-0

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