Friday, February 26, 2021

Finance Committee meeting recap - Feb 24, 2021 - ambulance rates, fire truck life cycle; debt overview

Quick Recap:
  • Quick overview of the ambulance rates and rationale behind them from Chief McLaughlin
  • Overview of the recent truck purchase process and the life cycle of trucks on the front line, in reserve and eventual disposition as surplus
  • Great overview of the debt and borrowing status for Franklin, heard previously at the Town Council meeting but great info on exclusions and non-excluded debt and how it is fiscally planned for and managed; the Town has a great credit rating which confirms the overall fiscal prudence shown by the Town
  • Discussion on future topics including adding two sessions to the budget hearing cycle (now four meetings instead of two)
Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album
As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #fincom0224

  • Real time reporting underway for the Finance Committee meeting #fincom0224 agenda doc linked here has the connection info
  • Fire Chief McLaughlin talks to the proposed ambulance rate increases up for second approval at Town Council meeting next week #fincom0224
  • Majority of transportation is ALS1, second BLS and least used is ALS2. Have talked with a company about their frequency of usage. Trying to avoid overuse and making sure it is an appropriate use. 87-88% is about norm for collection rates #fincom0224
  • BLS is basic life support, ALS1 medication, cardiac monitor; ALS2 is a more critical level of service... #fincom0224 billing and allowable rates set outside via Medicare etc. We stay within allowable.
  • The two trucks are from Greenwood in N Attleboro, to offset the service costs of two trucks in reserve to get them inspected. These new ones are coming at a great deal for us, great discount and good value. #fincom0224 the trucks will also enable ISO 1 level rating ...
  • If you recall, they had reached level 2 last year. 15 in frontline and 5-7 years in reserve is a good ballpark lifecycle. Q is the rusted rail unique to Pierce. They rectified that in 2018 but that doesn't help this one. #fincom0224 ISO 1 will enable to save business ...
  • Could be up to 3.5% savings going up the to level 1 for the businesses insurance rates. #fincom0224 moving to the debt and borrowing presentation (also in the doc link shared earlier)
  • Kerri Bertone presenting #fincom0224
  • Most recent interest rate 1.33% a good sign of our high rating and great fiscal management #fincom0224 non-excluded debt (like the Library, Senior Center, etc. ) Vs. excluded debt mostly school buildings (FHS)
  • Some of the 15M authorization will not ever be used. Example, the windows for the Municipal bldg was est at 1.3m and bid came in at about 500k, so we'll use free cash rather than borrow. Chrome books were also part of above but those were covered via the COVID funds #fincom0224
  • Would use lease purchase if a benefit but there is a middle man and we don't always get the best price via going directly to the finance. We are set up to borrow for our benefit. #fincom0224 worthy discussion on the current 2.2% vs policy of 3.5% and thought behind it
  • Police station is likely to be a debt exclusion. Will use bans to out together some of the projects to bond as a package. Saves us the issuance cost and with good rates gets us the lowest cost benefit #fincom0224 what will it take to get to AAA?
  • A regular discussion with the bonders, it is less but a factor of the marker place. #fincom0224 interesting story on Hudson and net interest and DOR changed rules because of it. Refunding is the resident equivalent of refinancing a mortgage, our rates are so low we won't...
  • see that for some time, interest if at 6% would make sense to reduced to 1 or 2 ... If we are already at 1 or 2 but how low can you go. #fincom0224 Stabilization funds update - 10 year history of new growth coming in the next meeting
  • Town Administrator Jamie Hellen updating a review of the comparable stabilization funds #fincom0224 currently $8m in OPEB fund. Some Communities do stick out from the others. Natick has a plan for a fund to cover for a 3 yr downturn based upon a % of their state aid
  • Would be a good discussion point for an overall planning point. Ultimately how were we able to manage? We did put something aside when it was good, key priorities. #fincom0224 need to be fiscally prudent.
  • Discussion on budget hearings to be spread over four nights, worked well last time; #fincom0224 capital plan? had held off due to other items in the mix, less free cash overall, snow/ice eating into free cash with weather this year. General operations metrics, etc.
  • #fincom0224 April 4 nights would be budget hearings, OPEB report in April, stormwater coming in budget, facility coming, UGVI at FHS is the only public school with that service; Motion to adjourn, second, passes 8-0 That's all for tonight, catch you next time!


Finance Committee meeting recap - Feb 24, 2021 - ambulance rates, fire truck life cycle; debt overview
Finance Committee meeting recap - Feb 24, 2021 - ambulance rates, fire truck life cycle; debt overview

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