Thursday, March 20, 2014

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #3

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

Nutting, Gagner, Dacey

Minutes from meeting of Mar 13th to approve
motion to approve, second, passed 6-0

Library - Felicia Oti
About $300K below the state requirements
attempting to show good faith effort to get a waiver and continue to operate
$950K would be the standard and we can't afford it

a couple of personnel changes, two part-timers add 5 hours
proposing to open Sunday, looking to use the book sale revenues to support Sunday
increased expense budget to get closer to the standard

Q - how are the Sunday hours
A - the people are coming every month, it is increasing. I don't want to be too optimistic but it is looking good

Nutting - there used to be two large sales by the Friends of the Library; to avoid that effort, and sell every day, the library is doing this; getting more and more interest; you don't get the same selection as you might have but you can go more frequently

Oti - We are thankful for the additional staffing, we are looking to being more youth in and then they are more likely to check out a book while there
everyone wanted to have us open on Sunday, Sunday's will be beneficial for families, students...
the community donates the books, comes to buy the books, and then we can give back by opening the hours

Q - what is the trend on circulation?
A - ereaders down due to licensing issues, we are working through all the issues, folks want the current books and publishers are not wanting to deal with this.

Police - Chief Semerjian, Kevin Ryan

only change in the budget is for the request of an additional officer
part of the demand is that the current workforce has been here sometime, at any point in time we can have three folks out due to vacation, so this would help us cover
we added one a year ago and we would like to add another now

we have some folks out on injury and that is a taken slot that we can't replace yet

Q - add folks with experience?
A - we look to add the best candidates, we try to keep a balance of the ages

we ran a test where 165 folks passed to file the wait list
we can take a transfer it is quick and easy, or if we get a new hire, they go off to the academy for training before coming back for local training

we did the test, now need to finalize the actual process
in the old days, it was everything about the test, now we need to figure it out
we are a few months away from doing it for the first time
we can keep the list as long or as short as we want
for transfers we can take an officer from any other dept
we have more options on transfers now

Q - question on 11 in B-7
A - actually the number of holidays, not the number of people

Q - B-8 is that software?
A - That is what runs all our operations, it is an annual cost for support

Facilities - Mike D'Angelo

844 under general government
maintenance of all town and school properties aside from the pump stations that DPW manages
requesting an additional custodians for the new high school
had cut 8 custodians in 2007, with the new school and new facility more glass, etc.
the need for help is driving the request
cleaning about 43,000 sq ft per night with the new person

estimate of the electric cost for the new building
hundreds of cameras, the TV studio, estimate from the architect
consumption of gas will be less compared to the current building, still an estimate

looking at July 24/25 for the school to be turned over to the Town
other change is the collective bargaining for salary increases

1.2 million sq ft of building space

Q - $100K less in natural gas
A - we are doing better, we are trending down, with energy upgrades, those are paying off
took out some modulars so that helped
electrical will go up and gas down but overall, it is likely to be about the same for the new building as the old

phone costs are going down, our minute rate is going down
we are trying to do a lot of things, gives folks raises and does more but up only 6,000 year to year after adding a person

finished out the LED lighting on the elementary schools
3 year payback on electrical and then the service costs will go down with LED as well

Q - do you have training to do for the new equipment in the high school
A - starting about in Apr we'll be getting training on all the systems before we take over. Typically there is constant training for my staff, school staff and kitchen staff, etc. extensive training for every system. they are warrantied for a full year

Nutting - lt looks like we will be opening at or over capacity, we usually lose some students to other high schools

Fire Dept - Chief McCarragher, Paul Sharpe

Fire budget is as is, no salary increases due to no collective bargaining agreement
four firefighters being paid for by a Federal grant that expires in Oct 2015
currently the grant pays for all salary and benefits

Dispatch union is under contract

biggest jump is in training, the State got out of training and now need to register with the national service. All the medics need to certify

ambulance billing was farmed out last year, this year it is in the budget

fire service is really a team sport, now that we are the staffing level, we can do some long term planning
a couple of success stories
in capital budget added automated lift systems
last year 12 injuries, this year only 2

capacity to retire all the command staff in the next seven years, working on succession planning
bringing others in to do training to help with the succession training
we are not the only department facing this

Q - training? yearly
A - 20 hours, a one time training program

Q - response time efforts? if you lost the four people, how would it effect the performance
A - we would not be able to sustain the performance; medical on scene; 9 mins to 18 doesn't seem long but if you are not breathing for that time, it is huge
could see some savings from the regional dispatch, could also see some savings from bundling on the ambulance contract billing

less injuries, less overtime, beyond response time there are other issues with staffing
forced overtime 58% less this year than last year

60-70% of the calls are medical emergencies
remainder is for fires, emergencies and other calls of the 'last resort'
other public service we will provide

quarterly report for grant, 16 fires, half out of town support and half in town
still a substantial work load, looking to do a more robust risk reduction program
looking to put out a program to avoid falls, if we reduce 25% of those calls, that is a savings and can help build capacity
assisted living facilities are a call per unit per year, if we take some calls away,that helps

Q -how many times do we call out of town ambulances?
A - about 100 times a year, we look at that closely
there is a business side to that, if we can staff that, there is some income potential as well

we used to be 8 to 8 busy, most of the calls went to the industrial parks, during the down turn the residential area increase, when the economy comes back, the industrial area may increase, if the residential doesn't go away, then we have an increase

About 100 time out of time, so it balances out

Regional dispatch

this has been on going for the last three years funded by the State
Legislature passed the bill to allow us to go regional, this is truly the best regional operation
telephone tree in a time compressed environment
with regional, it will save time and be more efficient

some incidental costs like a start up business
there is a cost per call and we will be about half of the total volume

Q - it is not just shifting money, it will save money?
A -  yes

Q - if the infrastructure is in place will there be expansion capability?
A - Yes, we may be able to expand. There are options with additional partners, there are two other who do want to come in. Once you see success, you'll see people moving towards this

Q -
A - peak period is likely to be 5-7 at anytime during the day
discipline based call handling, trained with the system and the nature of the call, they take the info and go right to dispatch

Q -
A - land line phones are easy but cell phones are problematic, newer cell phones are getting better. The state Police actually handles the cell phone 911 call. There is a technology solution and a people solution

old business
new business

next meeting, Wed Mar 26th
more admin dept, school dept
potentially voting next week on the final depending upon what time it is

motion to adjourn

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