Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Mar 13, 2013

Present: Goldsmith, Dufur, Quinn, Roche, Feldman, Aparo, Huempfner
Absent: Smith, Dewsnap

Susan Gagner, Jeff Nutting and Jim Dacey (from right to left as you watch the video broadcast)

Jeff Nutting opens with comments and overview of the budget. Thanks to Susan Gagner for coordinating to put the budget together and to the employees for their daily contributions.

A level service budget, no reductions, no job adds, very few tweaks, collective bargaining agreements that now need to be funded. A balanced budget, no anticipated state aid included. No reserves being used for the first time in 3 years.

Did increase our OPEB obligation, we need to do more there but this is a start.

no increase for Fire Dept, they are the only ones without a deal at this point. Will need to adjust the budget when a collective bargaining agreement is reached. Currently may be heading to arbitration.

This year was difficult but it will get more difficult going forward. The days of huge increases in Chap 70 are gone. Communities our size are collecting more property tax than we are. There will be a struggle as the only way to address that is to increase taxes and that is not a popular idea.

OPEB is going to need a legislative solution for the state.

Unfunded road challenge will need to be addressed.

Need to maintain our debt plan, about 3.5% of our budget is debt and we have some projects that should use this capacity. Everything but the schools in Franklin have been built without a debt exclusion. The Senior Center, the Fire Stations, the Historical Museum, all of these were done without a debt exclusion by living within our budget using this debt capacity.

Issue with the library funding at the State level. We should not have to ask for an exception every year, times have changed but the funding formula has not.

The short version of the budget is now online

Q - are we affected by the sequestration?
A - the Schools could be as they have Title 1 funding

Budget Hearing (3/13/13)
Assessors - 141             A-10
Kevin Doyle - Director of Assessors
A-10 refers to the section of the budget book
141 - refers to the dept number for the budget and accounting

FY 2013 = 297,358
FY 2014 = 302,191 (slight increase in salaries)

100% of what the assessors do is under the control of the DOR

Staying consistent with current budget, only significant change has been from 2012 to 2013 due to a change in the process for Commercial/Industrial properties

Board of Health - 510    E-1
Public Health - 525        E-6 
Dave McKearney, Health Director
Dept 525 is really coverage for the contract with the Visiting Nurse Assoc. of Milford

COA - 541                    E-7
Karen Alves,  Director of Senior Center
asking town to partially fund health and wellness nurse, previously funded through a grant which is no longer available. Blood testing, sugar testing, screening, and fall prevention to mention a few

Gait assessment, fall assessment conducted and referrals to primary care physicians
Install grab bars around the elderly homes
Chronic disease self management programs
Friends of Franklin Elderly help to pay for the cook, and will partially pay for the nurse

The demographics are compelling, 75% more seniors by the end of this decade
Targeted to go from 4,000 to 7.000 within Franklin
12% Friends
16% State
11,000 volunteer hours also affect the performance and help minimize the budget

Planning - 175                A-40 (rescheduled for Thu)

Town Council - 111       A-1
Nutting - this amount covers the due for the Mass Municipal Association
Town Admin - 123        A-2
Nutting - overall budget up but mostly shifting from expense to salary
based upon new contract agreement
Fin Comm - 131            A-4
Roche joking requests a stipend for the FinCom
everyone is a volunteer
Comptroller - 135          A-5
Gagner - pretty much status quo, switching partners within the audit firm just to get a new look at the books
asst comptroller will be retiring, added some hours to one of the clerks to help cover for her with 40+ year experience who would be leaving

over the next 7-8 years, you'll have a 40-50% turnover in the staff

Recreation - 630            F-7
Ryan Jette, Director of Recreation
rely on 100% of the fees to run the department
work closely with sports groups and other organizations with Town

spring sports start next week, this is when the turf fields start to really payoff
the grass fields won't be ready until about Apr 10 as it has been so wet recently

they use the tax workoff program, how to use the phones and computers to process the registrations in the office, just did the training last week

about 8,000 residents in the year, the programs continue to grow each year
self funding hence zero cost for the town

Treasurer - 147             A-14
Jim Dacey - Treasurer/Collector
new parking officer has written over $30,000 worth of tickets for parking violations
parking meter income is increasing so people are starting to learn to pay the meter
Electronic bill presentment can start July with water bills
savings in paper offset somewhat by the system to do the electronic presentment
equipment wear and tear will also be saved but won't be seen in the budget

e-billing savings will be seen in the postage, taxes, excise, water/sewer will be available
real estate taxes should be available with the November bill cycle
contract for 3 years with two one year renewals likely but not set yet

Legal - 151                   A-21
Nutting - back in the late 90's the Town had an outside person providing legal advice
when Jeff came, he brought that in house to save money and provide additional advice before a dispute would occur
The only change is with an outside attorney for contract and collective bargaining work
it has been a real success and not a lot of change in this budget
Central Services - 196  A-53
Gagner - static budget from last year, usually turning back some funds from this budget
likely to see the postage savings in here going forward
printing for annual town reports here as well

You might seem some in DPW you don't see great variation due to volume with this small departments
The one exception is DPW, everybody else is 80% salaries

We're pushing hard for online permits to start in July, it will take time for people to get use to it
the technology is a great equalizer, we are asking for more folks due to technology

so many things are covered by statutory requirement within the Board of Health, Building Dept, and Treasurers office

There is a little cushion on the revenue side, no bones about it, we don't control the economy so we never budget 100% of our expected revenue
historical average is about 2.5% free cash, and that is about 2.5% of our overall budget

Police, DPW and Schools will be a heavy budget session on Thursday

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