Thursday, March 13, 2014

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #2

Present:  Dowd, Conley, Fleming, Dufour, Dewsnap, Smith, Quinn
Absent: Huemphner, Aparo

Nutting, Dacey

Comment on tips for audio recording
1 - say name before speaking first time, when watching video folks can see who is speaking when listening without the name, they wouldn't recognize the voice

2 - take care with paper handling, the microphones pick up a lot

3 - table taps whether with fingers or pen/pencils also picked up

the combination of the background noises if repetitive can be distracting to the listener

Ryan Jette; Meghan Woodacre
Recreation Dept

over 300 programs a year effectively self funding, expenses generally covered by fee revenue

Q - has the usage gone up?
A - new programs have been introduced to increase overall activity
flag football has almost 500

Q - on 4 - 3 drop
A - moved a full time secretary to a part time

Q - With fields being torn up by the high school
A - we have been working with Dean and Tri-County to use those fields. The college finishes early so that frees up their fields early. It was a bit of a crunch but it is something we can work with

Q - How do you get the money out of Medway?
A - registrations are online and electronically paid so it is automatically deposited in our accounts, no matter where they reside

Q - if it rolls over what happens?
A - generally within $10K and it would roll into the general fund; they also have established minimums to establish a program. The big programs can cover some of the smaller ones

Brutus Cantoreggi

All in all about $15M total for the budget (including the enterprise accounts)

start with general DPW budget #422
supported by local taxes
highway, central motors, Beaver St recycling

challenge for 2014 is increase workload, 6 less employees since he started
DelCarte and Sculpture Park for example

MassDEP regulatory requirements

HPP - Downtown improvement project
while the State is running the project, when residents have issues, they will likely will call us

basically a level service budget

tree removal increased, has been when it falls down, we pick it up, we'd like to be more proactive
would like to do more asphalt
the Beaver St recycling center is actually starting to look nicer, the folks are satisfied with what we are doing

the major element is storm water, when the EPA sets the regs, it will need to be dealt with

the primary part of most town budgets are personnel costs, my budget is 65% expenses (not personnel costs)

many of the turnbacks are from the employee side, it takes time to hire someone
3 employees are out on workers comp, can backfill until their situation is clarified

TIP money is really tight, there are 101 towns trying to split $45M

if you do the engineering and the standards change you need to re-do the work
need to front the money for engineering work
lions share of state money is going to RT 2

Work to reduce the width of the road, add a sidewalk and we could do it for less

There isn't much money in this budget for roads
the road money is in the capital plan which goes up and down
I have suggested something else to provide that revenue
with adding 2500 seniors, we ought to be building sidewalks
a critical component to health and welfare, it walking
sidewalks need to be in the mix

Q - snow removal, who is responsible for the removal
A - when the contractors are brought in, they supplement the Town work
The DPW personnel budget is overtime

Q - Where do we stand for 2014?
A - just shy of $1M, about $100,000 over budget

we have reduced the amount of salt we put out, if we do the whole town like today, it is about $30,000
if we do the 6 truck route, it is about $6,000

it is hard to show with the numbers but we really has reduced the amount of salt
on the wells, we see the salt go up in the spring time and we need to be careful
the sand goes in the catch basins and we have to pay to ship it away
if you're doing one thing right, something else is wrong

Q - highways salaries, a 15% increase in personnel?
A - actually filled some vacancies and partially due to the increase in collective bargaining agreement

Q - B12 - vehicle parts and accessories
A - we had looked at the averages, the 260 may have been a blip due to a unique event

we try to keep things repaired, when a sidewalk plow goes down, and it costs to fix it, we need to pay for it
we can move money from one line item to another

Q - how early do we bid for fuel?
A - we are participating with a bunch of other towns, we are bidding out a year at a time

we're currently paying $2.09/gal for gas, $3.39 for diesel (we don't pay taxes)
winter is our heaviest use for fuel

Q - on page D6, there is an equipment disposal?
A - a shift to road construction with chip sealing towards the end of the year

Q - what is the size of the fleet
A  - about 250 registered vehicles and a bunch of other lesser vehicles

you are welcome to come down, we are fortunate to have 3 mechanics who do great work

we are in the process of designing the new building, in order to move the equipment and then take down the old building, also loosing space at the high school so the new one needs to be ready to replace it

Enterprise Funds 450/440/434 Section H

looking to get another $7.5M bond to continue water work without increasing rates
we have fundamentally changed how we are budgeting
we prepare for the worst, which is what we do
with declining sales of water due to water conservation, the treatment plant is very expensive to run
able to turn facility off about 3 months a year, which reduces the costs
with more water sales, then we would need to turn all the wells on and increase the expenses

manganese, EPA and DEP are looking at it, our system is fine but they are looking at individual wells so we might need to add another treatment plant
eventually it will increase the water rates when the reg are set but we want to be prepare for it

decline decreasing, about 7-8% for unaccounted for water, leaks, fires, hydrant flushing
the biggest savings has been fixing the leaks, new buildings coming in with more efficient appliances
Garelick used to be even bigger, they are reducing their usage

we need to have reserve compression for fire supression
engineering deficit is calculated, if all are running at max, what do you produce? take the max well off line, can you meet that number? if not, that is what you need to reach

water smart development is water efficient development
rain gardens, grey water used for toilet flushing
MA is unique and ahead of other states, 43 inches of rain so we are able to use it
water we can capture from rain it is cheaper than pumping it up

water rain barrels were sold, not sold now as there is no demand

a new grant for rain gardens, new program coming (was a naming contest but not sure what the final name is)

The new fields when the high school comes down, they will be real turf fields
they are smart gadgets to ensure we water when we need to and not over water

down a little, just received the Charles River tonight
will spike in 2016 by about $700K due to the sewer system renovations

we did up the sewer rates last year in anticipation of this coming, so we are hoping that we will have enough to cover the increase

reduced a lot of inflow in our pipe to the Charles River, we are sending less waste
also means that ground water stays in the ground which helps our wells

26 lift station and personnel but the lion;s share is the flow

Trash/Solid Waste

cost is going up by the escalator in the contract
proposing a $4/year increase to the Council
the increase would be to $216 so we would still be below what we were 5-6 years ago
this has been a very successful program for the Town

contracts with escalator clauses

  • disposal of the rubbish
  • collection of the rubbish
  • school bus contract
  • school lunch contract with Whitson

these are also enterprise accounts so the extras go back into the fee remediation

mostly based upon fuel costs

All the rest of these budgets are status quo budgets

Planning - 177 A-38
personnel increases are due to negotiation wages
personnel numbers themselves stay the same
no real changes otherwise

NuStyle building used to exit, one building was taken down
another fell down and we need to finish the demo
we know there is asbestos there
used to be a jewelry manufacturing place

Inspection 1- 240 B-53
minor salary increase due to certifications achieved

Health  - 510 E-1
salary adjustment to make the position more competitive relative to our peers

Public Health - 525 E-7
VNA used in lieu of hiring our own staff

Veterans 543 E-18
30 hour position
out reach work shifted

old business - none

Q - DPW biggest percent of the budget is non-personnel cost
can you comment on the payment controls?

A - street opening permit, sticker for landfill, Jim and Susan have worked to put controls in place
We audit to ensure they are following the right procedures, don't take cash at the Beaver St, everything is check or credit card

the accounts payable is controlled whether it is DPW or not, anything over $2500 needs a purchase order, no bills paid without proof of services rendered, controller, treasure, and my signature required
School have their process but the final payments til come trough us

new business
next meeting here at Mar 20th

motion to adjourn

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