Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Live reporting: Finance Committee - Dec 10, 2103

Present:  Quinn, Dowd, Fleming, Smith, Dufour, Huempfner
Absent:  Dewsnap, (TBD)

Jeff Nutting, Susan Gagner, Jim Dacey

(Sheet to be added later)

Discussion of proposed update to Fiscal Policies
initially reviewed at join budget subcommittee, recommendation for each group to review make their suggestions and then bring them together for a final review and approval by all groups (Town Council, School Committee and Finance Committee)

review of water sewer fees and infrastructure upgrades regularly, should be able to maintain a minimum rate increase at current levels to maintain upgrades. Would need an increase to cover the Charles River sewer plant upgrade, that started as an estimate of $20M and is closer to $30M

juggling the finances to keep within the rate set and still funding the infrastructure upgrades; assuming current plans, we would only need a rate increase possibly in 4-5 years

Tie water and sewer mains with street reconstruction to maximize dollars; other alternative would be find $1.5M to fund the street repairs needed each and every year

trash is $70 less than several years ago, due to the introduction of the bins (totters) and increase in recycle over trash.

snow and ice built up to a 5 year rolling average, currently at $900,000.

OPEB will take about later as there is an OPEB report in the package

Discussion on putting some into a swing fund to help cover for the snow/ice requirements rather than taking from the free cash

Storm water - EPA has not put out the regulations yet, several year overdue currently. Will have financial implications for us when it does happen

Consider a Building Repair and Maintenance account to replace the Senior Center Stabilization account when they meets its needs. Things do break and will need to be repaired. Jefferson carpet replaced recently through the capital budget.

The house was just demolished to provide the additional space for parking at the Senior Center

Roll over the Fire Truck and Turf Fields funds when they fulfill their initial purpose
make interest on them currently and avoid paying interest on a bond, also looks

Public works account being built up to hold for repair of Lincoln St bridge, coordinate with Medway

This is not just for the staff, FinCom and others, this is also for the citizens to see that our house is in order, how we do our business without always pulling out our credit card

Road funding is a state wide problem, most communities get funding from Chapter 90 which is the gas tax funds. The Legislature authorized and the Governor released less. So there is no real dependable source. Not many other communities grew as fast as we did in the recent years (80s-90s) so they have been able to budget over time

crack seal, chip seal, overlap and then finally rebuild the road is part of the maintenance plan

Per Jeff the only real option is a dedicated override but no one wants to hear that. The dedicated override couldn't be re-directed. This would provide a stable source to really get to the water/sewer and roads all together

After Weds with a new tax rate we can figure out the cost implications of the $1M or $1.5M

table of calculation on the % of debt of the general fund revenues
also sheet on "Projected Debt service Schedule"

interesting sheet on school building capacity
elementary ok, losing students, able to remove modulars, high school will be at capacity when the new school opens

Norfolk County Retirement System
Sheet with calculations for the communities that are part of this including Franklin

5 year forecast
same story as before the town does not have sufficient tax revenues to support the needs
20% decrease in staff, years with pay increases frozen, excess reserves used up, dramatic changes in health insurance plans, along with one override to get to where we are

conservative in revenue estimates, always have a balanced budget, it is the law

"levers pulled in the past will be fewer in the future"

in 1990 Franklin taxpayers paid 70% of the school budget, today they pay 50%
Chapter 70 has picked up the remainder but that calculation has been changing

this is in draft, to be finalized in January

State aid tends to be a little better in election years than non election years

expenses won't drive the budget, they don't go up too much in the grand scheme of things; we are a personnel driven budget, employees and benefits

only two budgets with heavy expenses; facilities and DPW

the grant for the fire fighters goes through Nov 2014 so an addition of 8 months for the 4 folks is added here

OPEB Report came in three days ago
sense that we need to create a trust fund, what does it mean to us and funding
started working on a trust document which the Council would need to approve
we are $2M short of funding OPEB every year. Now since we need that money for our operations, you can see why we have an OPEB problem

add a $100,000 every year, what would that look like
it is too easy for public employees to get retiree health insurance
there will need to be some legislation to address that but it has been the way for many years
it is not sustainable

the health care carriers want the whole pool, if you split the pool, the rates go up
funding the enterprise accounts obligations is easy, it comes from those accounts, getting coverage for the others is the issue

his estimates on health insurance, he thinks it will trend down
our workforce tends to be older, and therefore be more expensive

future retirees instead of paying 68/32 split what would it look like for a 50/50 split

average pension was $22,000 across the Norfolk County or $29,000 for a disability
not a lot of money to live on, not a staggering amount of money

average community pays 75/25, we are paying less at 68/32

Wellesley has their obligation covered by a dedicated override, Arlington has been saving for awhile, so there are a few like that but most of the communities are like we are, in a sinking ship

CT doesn't fund this for their employees, for example

Old business

New Business
Police, Fire, DPW, Schools, Facilities, Town Technology, and Library have submitted their capital wish lists
the meetings will take place in late Jan, early Feb to start the capital process

motion to adjourn, passed

No comments:

Post a Comment