Sunday, January 13, 2019

Finance Committee - Capital Budget Part 1 - Recap of Jan 8, 2019 meeting

Via Twitter I took notes of the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. This was held at the Senior Center and was recorded. The audio recording will be made available. It will be about 2 hours to cover the meeting completely.

This is the first of two sessions to review and determine the Capital Budget. The Finance Committee will vote to recommend all, part or some modification thereof at the meeting Tuesday, Jan 15 for the Town Council to then decide on.

The packet of documents is a large one, 166 pages in PDF format. The link is provided here.

You can also find the tweets by searching for the hashtag #fincom0108 (Note: the search results don't provide the tweets in chronological order. I did that.)

Live reporting: Finance committee gets underway at Senior Center. #FINCOM0108 . Yes, I could have been at the School committee meeting but respectfully I want to "follow the money"

#fincom0108 2 new deputy chiefs in attendance tonight for the fire dept as part of their learning process

Overview of the free cash amount, almost the largest ever. Don't count on it repeating. Some amounts are set aside for snow/ice, etc we have $2+M left to work with for capital budget. Exact amounts to be provided later #fincom0108

Fincom scene at the Senior center for tonight's meeting #fincom0108

Chief McCarragher bemoans fire dept planning coming in with smallest request in a year with the most free cash available #fincom0108 advocates for video technology to help the medics in servicing a patient, four total, one per vehicle

Uniform request also due to instances where servicing special situations and cleaning them before going to next call and possibly carrying the potential contamination with them. Regulation by OSHA coming for 1st time in MA #fincom0108

A combi tool, it cuts and spreads. Haven't been asking for similar as much of the equipment has come in with the new vehicle rotation. We need this before the next vehicle comes in 2023. #fincom0108

Examination of how to best resolve the radio 'dead spot' out along Lincoln and Populatic Sts. Didnt matter too much to us with few calls, call volume there is increasing, hence the risk #fincom0108

Fire fighters health needs to be addressed, they statistically get some cancers at significantly higher % than normal folks, some fire retardant materials contain cancer causing agents #fincom0108

Chief Lynch up next to explain his capital request, 3 cars and 1 motorcycle requested this year. Kevlar has 5 yr warranty so some of these are scheduled for replacement on 5 year plan, replacing some at a time #fincom0108

Radios to be purchased over 3 yr period replacing 1/3 at a time. Some of the older units would be redeploy ed to the schools for use in emergency situations. Radar sign boards wearing and heavily used, one to be purchased. #fincom0108

$50k for Town common, authorized several years ago, banners, etc would be taken from this fund. Street acceptances take time and money doing the research required to resolve street ownership issues #fincom0108

Storm water management study at $85k needs to be ready when the regs are finally coming due. Franklin has been proactive in storm water management but the liability is likely over $60M. The study would develop some options on how to plan and pay for it #fincom0108

Equipment replacement needs, utility truck, etc. Mini escavator cost effective. #fincom0108 street sweeper life cycle? Not just years, but it is all about use. When it picks up the street sand it is corrosive and that eats the truck

Water enterprise fund, cash flow comes from rate payers. Policy of leaving $1M in fund for contingency. 90% of the meters have been replaced, will keep the balance will be replaced by in house staff rather than contractor. #fincom0108

Backhoe needs to be replaced, originally from 1989. Mini escavator not good for water line work, reach is too short, wouldn't hold walls enough. #fincom0108 5 year plan of water line replacement and road rebuilds, pavement management plan part of process.

Vacuum truck up for replacement. Used to clean sewer lines, essential to every day operations. Recently was out of service and needed to call in a contractor with a vehicle #fincom0108

Town has more pump stations than most communities as when the growth occurred there was no master plan, some of the existing stations could have been avoided. #fincom0108 pump station design needs to include optimal pumping rather than leaking

Already costed to save interest of approx $4M over 20 term due to low interest rate low secured. Only other major items seen is the Beaver St connector. Over 108 yrs old, carries 90% over our flow to the plant, don't want to calculate what it would cost to replace #fincom0108
Water presentation includes the map displayed by Jeff Nutting with commentary by Brutus Cantoreggi

former Thompson Press site a good example of public private cooperation on the storm water solution, developer wrote $700k check for town, grant from state to help run off from Dean Ave through the property #fincom0108

Health care 2nd largest piece of the town budget after schools, 8 to 10 % of 116M #fincom0108

OPEB estimated at $74M liability, detailed report going to Town Council Weds evening (in meeting agenda packet) #fincom0108 the system needs to be changed, it can't stay this way.

Overview of risk assessment presented to Town Council in December, in good shape, mostly documentation needed to be written, another update due to Council in a couple of months #fincom0108

Overview of fiscal policies, potential suggested changes some are technical changes, some additional discussion points for example, open space fund can't provide enough to buy land, let's grow the amount to give us more to use #fincom0108

Consideration for implementation of excise tax on Marijuana. Council has authorized up to 3% #fincom0108 roads and infrastructure additional funds needed for maintenance of the 200 plus miles of roads, sidewalks and parking lots

These are policy not bylaws we can use them as necessary. Bottom line citizens will decide the level of government they want. #fincom0108

The Finance Committee
The Finance Committee

The presenter table with Chief McCarragher ready to go
The presenter table with Chief McCarragher ready to go

Jeff Nutting holds the map while Brutus Cantoreggi makes his points
Jeff Nutting holds the map while Brutus Cantoreggi makes his points

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