Monday, April 3, 2017

Live reporting: Finance Committee - April 3

Present: Dufour, Dowd, Conley, Huempfner, Dewsnap, Fleming, Moses, Smith,  
Absent: Weich

motion to approve prior meeting minutes, with one change, the date to vote on the budget is Apr 5, (not Apr 15); seconded, passed 8-0

FY 2018 Budget Presentation:

  • IT 155 A - 28
Tim Raposa, IT Director
pretty much same as last year with changes to Google services

Q - do we have a DR site ?
we have backups, we have offsite backups, we have redundant systems, we can restore in a timely manner
We are trying to get to the point to be able to run out of the Fire Dept, 

Google docs purchased with capital costs and will be supported ongoing

e-permit started with dog licensing and will move to other departments

  • Veterans 543 E - 14

Dale Kurtrz, Veterans Officer
required by law and 75% reimbursed by Commonwealth
salary supported by County and Avon
expect about a 3% increase from State, otherwise this is a best guest

administers a State benefit, to a veteran or a dependent
looks at income and/or assets and if qualified

  • Inspections 240 B - 40

Gus Brown, Building Commissioner
steady state budget
personnel changes, increased hourly rate of part time inspectors
other than that not much else has changed

fees did increase slightly, some eliminated to streamline
approx $900,000 yearly including all the building fees
budget effectively attempts to be covered by the fees

efficiency and economies of scale considered in the streamlining of fees

regular visits even to the larger projects can be challenging, very good contractors in this case

will go with e-permitting eventually
trying to make more user friendly

  • ZBA 176 A - 37
$5,000 for legal advertising and is reimbursed by the applicants

  • Police 210 B – 1
Chief Lynch
pretty standard from last year, other than contractual increases
looking for training classes to improve or increase exposure

training money used to go for OT
OT funding increased to be actually used for OT

police and fire looking for personnel increases but with Schools using $2M in one time funds, where is that going to come from
another application for 250 condos just came in, we will need to increase sometime, the question is when

we are still below the level in 2000 (by 4) with an increase in population since then

we did put in for 2 DPW workers this year, and that is the first increase in a long time

Q - renovation of the Police Station?
looking for an architect first to see see what needs to be done; will not be a cheap renovation as it is a concrete building. Maybe cheaper to add on than to renovate. Small space and surrounded by wet lands

going tomorrow to negotiate the land swap with the state to get the recycle center land taken care of

we are at 95% build out in industrial commercial

  • Fire 220 B - 14
Chief McCarragher
fire depts work in a very time compressed environment
additional funds in training will take people off line to go to the tower for fire suppression training
with resources as tapped as they are, it is hard to do training
wellness initiative is unfunded this year, over 50% of the fire fighters who left the department left on injury
(a) annual physical, (b) fitness training, (c) ???
once going the program should help recover costs and pay for itself
focus group getting together to put the program together

emergency services are increasing, 2 to 3 time per day for 2 -3 hours at a time, i am unable to respond; so far it has not hurt us, but it can some day

working on a plan to bring in next year
you either reduce the number of emergencies or you increase the number of resources to respond

target goal of 90 hasn't been reached, 80% makes sense in a growing community; when you look at a mature community, the 90% is a sweet spot, you sufficient resources to meet the needs

by the end of June, we'll have hired 6 people this year but we won't be at the full 12 across the shifts

before 09, busy times were 7-7; now with the industrial parks fuller, the evening hours are trending upwards, residents are increasing over the commercial industrial spaces

a third ambulance would cut mutual aid calls in half
60% if the transports are medicare/medicaid and you don't get full cost recovery

all the data comes from the midwest and west, not from New England
union sees the need to do the wellness program

grant writing comes from resources within the department

  • Regional Dispatch 225 B - 39

couple of days away from chosing an executive director, expect to be up and running in Sep/Oct 2018 depending upon how the construction goes
still need another $3M from 911 to get going
the director will get the processes and procedures refined

it is probably by FY 2020 where the full year would be complete to determine the funding, likely 47% of the total

would like to expand beyond the 3 communities but not to start with

  • Facilities 192 A - 42
Mike D'Angelo
collective bargaining agreement, hours increased due to Beaver St and Library
electricity up, still getting a handle on what the high school uses, all electricity (90%) any way comes from the solar grid
general gas prices are down and foreseen as going down, water and sewer are up and increasing (more fields); new buildings are all low flow everywhere, true water conservation in place; new fields at the high school coming on line
doing more and more work in the buildings, they seem new but time flies
custodial supplies increasing year over year
school buildings open every day of the week, some at night, some on the weekend; they are being utilized, but they drive the cost of cleaning the buildings; cleaning around the people that ate they
all schools changed to LED lighting; only 4-5 town buildings left to convert
1.2M sq ft of space managed by 3 people (not counting the custodians)

Q - on Senior Center closure
A - contractor doing the renovations failed to insulate an area that caused a sprinkler head to break

Q - are we still learning what the high school costs?
A - yes, we are; the electricity it takes to run is pretty substantial; we had over estimated the gas. The first year is the contractor's coverage, the second year tends to be ours; there is so much sophistication there, so many cameras to keep online. We try to fix everything right away.

Q - Remington - water doubled?
A - we're watering the fields all round there, there was a drought last year; unprecedented drought last year

  • Streetlights 424 D - 1
  • DPW 422 D - 4

Brutus Cantoreggi

up by $10K, mostly due to aging underground infrastructure, instead of just pulling a line, you need a backhoe, police officer, etc.

asked for an increase of 2 employees, first time in 17 years
would like to get more but this is what we are asking for this time

collective bargaining increases also
we are being much more efficient in what we do
we are to the point where we can't do it all
the downtown is coming off warranty, the high fields are coming on line

major concerns for next year, new permit coming in will be significant
Franklin has been in the lead to appeal the EPA permit
permit roughly 60M to reduce phosphorous to the Charles River

65% for expenses (material costs)
did bid out to gain efficiencies

road score, initially at 74, wanted to get to 80
tried the override and that failed, we are at 72 and it is going down
we are doing a lot of low cost maintenance (chip sealing, etc.) but there are sections (like Pleasant St) that need more than the chip seal.

we are paving some subdivisions that this is the first time since they were built

the override could be brought up again, it is up to the Council
override was the better option than a big bond, once paid you don't have anything left

currently budget for $953K, just now about $1.1M so a little over for 60" of snow

summer help (mostly college) covers for resources and covers for the summer vacation to get the work done; last summer had 14 part timers

Enterprise 450 I -2, 440 I – 10, 434 I - 30
water, sewer, and trash, all self supporting via fee schedules

got good news on the new treatment facility estimate came in about $10M (instead of 15-16)
look for a rate increase in FY 2018 and maybe 2-3 years after that

haven't had a rate increase in 6-7 years
meter replacement schedule from capital plan
$200,000 or so to do that
painted the Union St tank for $600K (and that is a small tank)

it is a lot cheaper to maintain our level than to slip and try to get back

working an asset management plan for the sewer building, pump houses, did doors and locks, will get to roofs, and then siding, etc. all in priority order

may need a sewer rate increase to sustain the operations due to the increase from the Charles River assessment

good news is we don't have a lot of sewer debt

trash, very little change in operations, rate will remain the same for the foreseeable future
negotiated contract 3 years ago, recycles going down 

condos usually would use our systems; apartments generally do something on their own

18-19,000 totters, would need to be replaced over time
currently 10 years in to an expected 15 year plan

  • Employee Benefits 910 H - 1

Norfolk County Retirement Board
$42M unfunded liability, once paid off our costs will drop
they are still using an 8% discount rate everyone else is using 7.5% (more realistic)

full time employees and retirees
3 separate accounts 
health insurance a never ending battle to control costs
design a plan from year to year to meet costs
implement co-pay, changes deductables, hopefully it will all work out to be less than a 1% increase

schools budget pays for active employees, town pays for retirees

  • Liability Insurance 945 H – 6

going up a minor amount, additional space to insure
sprinkler claims over past couple of years
lightning strike at police station
but only a small increase overall

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