Saturday, March 13, 2021

Finance Committee Meeting Recap: Topics of interest -> capital budget, public safety, and FY 22 budget revenue estimates

Quick Recap:
  • The initial capital budget proposals were reviewed, discussed and approved to bring to the Town Council at a future meeting
  • An overview of public safety from the dispatch operations (MECC), including police (Chief Lunch) and Fire (Chief McLaughlin) was insightful. The answer to "How long does it take for a police new hire to actually take a working shift?" (after training, etc.) is eye opening
  • FY 2022 will present a challenge, the revenue estimates are still early but the gaps will not easily be reconciled without serious discussions. The question remains, how will Franklin address its structural budget deficit? It is not only a school budget problem, it is a town problem
  • Meeting calendar topics discussed and the summer meetings (July and August) were removed from the schedule

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  #fincom0310 

  • Real time reporting underway for the Finance Committee meeting tonight #fincom0310 5 of 9 members present for a quorum.  (added later (based upon conversation and questions), the five members present were Dowd, Conley, Dewsnap, Corbosiero, Riley)
  • Late to capital budget due to COVID concerns and snow/ice #fincom0310 (normally starting to review in Dec) projects listed for capital are critical. After doing policy obligations (OPEB, etc.) have $1.6m to work with
  • Not putting aside $ for fire trucks given the 2 recently purchased. Also not putting aside for open space due to the CPA passage and start of the CPC process. #fincom0310
  • Slide down the pages of the agenda doc to bottom page 3 and top of 4 for initial school items
  • #fincom0310 don't typically do trade ins for the vans, usually well beyond useful life hence surplus
  • Municipal bldg had been approved for financing last year, and when out to bid getting a good price so it has come down considerably and can use the free cash instead. #fincom0310 fire dept request mostly annual type items for gradual replacement of some #s regularly
  • Likely to have solution on north Franklin with radio coverage and a new tower possible. Fire happy with analog radio for guarantee of comms on site; all the radios both police and fire go both digital and analog, explanation on article sent by #FinCom0310 chair
  • Tower at Keller/Sullivan will help except for those over the hill and down Populatic. Did submit request for grant with Plainville to replace radios, asking for microphones in this submission. #fincom0310
  • Next up, DPW line items, while borrowing was authorized, they would like to avoid it. Also applying for a MassWorks grants with a local contribution (this amount) to help prioritize #fincom0310 Q on the other items but not in this year's request
  • Next year is a longer list for DPW, #fincom0310 vehicles are usually run until they can't pass inspection. Have milled parts when parts weren't available in channels. Haven't considered using some of the smaller capital items bundled together for a bond issue.
  • An unwritten policy to not use the bond for such a short term item, fire trucks bonded for 10 years, may last 20 which is okay. If it is 5 years life for a ten year bond, not a good deal, likely costing more #fincom0310 discussion at St Mary's intersection, and long waits
  • #fincom0310 is there a central motor pool? DPW runs the pool and watching the life cycles, maintenance, etc. Approx 258 registered vehicles taken care of by DPW with 3 mechanics. As part of green Community, we will be purchasing 2 electric vehicles for town staff near future
  • Next up, the enterprise funds and capital associated with water sewer, etc. #fincom0310 pages 6-7 has these items 
  • When you get a new water main, you also get a new road surface. Resolution has correct amount, narrative may have a typo. #fincom0310 Q how old are the tanks? tank is 3rd oldest in nation still in use. Can upgrade pump 4 to feed the hillside tanks and remove Pleasant st
  • Rate payers support the sewer enterprise fund (along with the water  rate payers supporting the water enterprise fund). 150k to look over the Beaver St project to make sure something wasn't missed. #fincom0310 there is a minimum $1m maintained in case
  • Page 8 has other capital wish list items #fincom0310 Q on snow ice use from free cash vs. putting it in the budget, raises a great question on why we are so low in roads and other accounts... 6-7" snow costs 175-250K, calling contractors costs about 8K per hour
  • Does use a 5 year rolling average to start the budget; extra money in snow/ice goes to roads so it is used.  Motion to approve 1st resolution, passes 5-0. #fincom0310
  • 2nd motion passes, same vote, 3rd motion, passes with same vote, 4th resolution 21-16 passes 5-0
  • Next up, MECC presentation. #fincom0310
  • Presentation copy at end of the agenda doc …
  • #fincom0310 Mendon and Millville begins dispatch in July, agreements signed work underway to make happen. Who is next after them?
  • Due to development grant to allow for merger of Mendon and Millville into, did create fund to set aside to cover for when we pay the full bill again in FY 2025. As for who is next? We can bring in more with planning. #fincom0310 currently 29 FTE
  • Business calls are not 911 calls but they can be an emergency call. #fincom0310 call efficiency? still too early to really see, do have efficiency within the team and still building the operations. Did just ratify the first dispatcher union contract today at the board meeting
  • Next up Chief Lynch 56 total, 53 sworn officers, description of the divisions and operations. Patrol work 10 hour days four days, then off... Should have 58 for comparable dept of our size. Hired 20 in 4.5 years, yes turnover. Retirements of 6-8 in next three yrs, command staff
  • From hire time to be on the street it is a year (if academy req'd). Better to find an experienced individual to cut down on the time req'd. MA police accreditation underway. Just went thru review today, should find out in month/so. #fincom0310 station study would be nice
  • The building is ok but not enough space, officers dress at home, locker space insufficient. #fincom0310 cruiser fund to replace x per year would be good. Busiest time is in afternoon/evening, between 2-3 PM and 2-3 AM.
  • $90k from DPH, covers the program but if necessary would fund local, Community has received it well, #fincom0310 if dealing with a mental health issues best is going along with the officer, significant savings to avoid court and criminal justice system
  • Over 600 calls between Medway and Franklin last year, clinician is busy and coordinates the service and follow up. #fincom0310 trending up, mental health, domestic violence - decline of break-in, (folks are home) opioid has not gone away, deaths are down but incidents …
  • Completed OneMind training for 20% of dept, want to do more, could use an other clinician, do a lot of training, 72 hours of training/year. Ben is now a certified support dog. Other depts went to the four days to save money, we went to add people back. #fincom0310
  • Chief McLaughlin up next, new hires 4 starting this month so in April we'll be full staffed for the four battalions for the first time ever. #fincom0310 all four groups doing same process, nice span of control in this structure. Volunteer grant Committee, over $250k received
  • Pursuing grants, close to an ISO 1 rating, new ambulance non May, trucks in July and all this during the pandemic, very productive year. #fincom0310 SAFER grant trying for, could provide support for 4 folks for three years. Next up, FY 22 assumptions
  • A good start but still work and numbers to verify, the bottom line initially is about $2.7 short. Some of the delta will go with revisions to some of the assumptions. Some of the remaining will need to be adjusted on the expense side #fincom0310
  • #fincom0310 budget Committee meeting scheduled for Mar 17 before the Town Council meeting. They'll go thru this sheet and any changes. Long explanation (no easy answer) on how to balance the budget ? There is a structural deficit, how do we address it?
  • Aside: given the time length of this meeting, the recording will likely be split into logical segments, one clearly on BUDGET! (Yes, deliberate choice for caps) #fincom0310 the first draft of school budget was posted today, shared at SchCom 3/9 
  • #fincom0310 about to close the meeting with last topic of future meeting topics, page 8 added earlier, OPEB April 14 at Town Council ... likely to cancel the July/August meetings. Motion to adjourn, passes 5-0. That's all for tonight, catch you next time!


section of the revenue forecast for FY 22, shows a negative number as the budget cycle starts
section of the revenue forecast for FY 22, shows a negative number as the budget cycle starts

No comments:

Post a Comment