MINUTES OF BOARD OF FINANCE
November 28, 2016
Present: W. Alvarez, Chairman; S. Clark; W. Mazzucco; J. Dolan; K. Yonkers; P. O’Donnell.
Also present: J. Pemberton, First Selectman;; M. Thompson, Selectman; Finance Director Gniadek; School Superintendent Dr. McMorran; Board of Education Chairman S. Sobel, members of the public; Redding Pilot reporter; videographers.
Chairman Alvarez called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
Mr. Alvarez noted that this is likely the last meeting for P. O’Donnell and wished her well in her next endeavor.
1. To approve Minutes of meeting held October 5, 2016
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of J. Dolan, the Board voted to approve the 10/24/16 Minutes. K. Yonkers abstained. P. O’Donnell noted that she does not feel that the comments made on Page 2, Item 5, Paragraph 3, re: Level 2 assets, adequately represent her opinion.
2. FY 2015-2016 CAFR Presentation (Scott Bassett-RSM)
Scott Bassett from RSM was present to review the CAFR report, currently in the final stages of draft review. Three internal control deficiencies were noted, but are not significant in nature. RSM indicated they will render an unqualified opinion that the financial statements are presented fairly in all material respects. The overall results were reviewed and a final report will be submitted the week of December 5.
Mr. Gniadek noted that increased communication with RSM resulted in a more efficient audit.
On the motion of S. Clark and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to accept the CAFR report.
Mr. Alvarez commended S. Gniadek and his staff for their efforts.
3. Tax Collector Report
Per S. Gniadek, tax collection for November is at 54.4% which is the highest percentage for this time period over the last 10 years.
4. Finance Director Report
Updates were provided re: school HVAC funding and the Stepney Road bridge Project. The HVAC amount will be reimbursed to the General Fund with the March bond. The General Fund will be reimbursed for the Stepney Road Bridge when the State Bridge Grant reimbursement is received.
Two new Town vehicles have been leased and the used vehicles have been sold.
The 2017-2018 budget kickoff meeting was held and individual department head meetings are scheduled for 11/30/16 and 12/1/16. A joint meeting with BOS, BOF and BOE is scheduled for 12/12/16 at the Community Center. A BOS workshop is scheduled for 1/6/17.
Probable adjustments to State Aid will be announced in February.
There is a 95% probability of an interest rate hike at the 12/14/16 Federal Reserve meeting per Guy LeBas at Janney.
Due to the estimated life of 7-10 years for emergency communications equipment, the project does not qualify for Bonding. If approved, it will be funded through the annual operating budget.
No additional capital items have been identified to be included with the Bond.
5. Treasurer Report
Deputy Treasurer Wes Higgins reported balances as noted in the 11/22/16 Treasurer’s Report. W. Mazzucco noted in the draft CAFR the high percentage of uncollateralized and uninsured funds apparently deposited in the bank. Town officials and the auditor will evaluate the situation further..
6. Bonding Discussion
Chairman Alvarez noted receipt of a list from Peggy Sullivan delineating four school projects. None of the items will be included for the Bond, because the Board of Education has not discussed them yet and they would need a town meeting after that.
On the motion of S. Clark and the second of W. Mazzucco, the Board voted unanimously to start the process to bond in mid-January, 2017.
On the motion of W. Alvarez and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to amend the motion to include the amount of $19.699 million plus fees if permissible.
7. Discussion of BOE FY 2017-18 Budget
Mr. Mazzucco summarized the internal controls of concern in the finance area that should be investigated by the BOE. W. Alvarez stated that further evaluation and assessment of policies and procedures by a financial professional is warranted for public confidence. The BOF, itself, has no budget for such an investigation. Thus, surplus funds of approximately $85,000 returned by BE after June 30, 2016, may be used to pay for a formal evaluation.
Sara Sobel stated that the BOE has not formed a subcommittee to investigate the issues further, however, the BOE obtained acknowledgements that its financial policies and guidelines had been violated and assurance that this would not happen again. The BOE is taking further steps to reinforce its financial policies.
Kim Yonkers requested written documentation of what internal controls were breached. A subcommittee will be formed to include two members from BOE, W. Mazzucco, W. Alvarez and possible a Selectman. The committee will consider an appropriate scope of this financial investigation, determine the likely cost, and make a recommendation to the full BOF.
8. December Joint Boards Budget Meeting
Meeting is scheduled for 12/12/16, 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center.
9. 2017 DRAFT Calendar of Meetings
On the motion of S. Clark and the second of J. Dolan, the Board voted unanimously to approve and submit the Calendar to the Town Clerk.
10. Reports from Individual Board members as assigned
11. Correspondence and Administrative matters
Requests for a forensic audit re: BOE were received by W. Alvarez.
On the motion of J. Dolan and the second of W. Mazzucco, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly