Board of Finance: Alvarez (Chairman), Clark, Dolan (7:32 pm), Mazzucco, O’Donnell, Yonkers
Also present: Finance Director Gniadek, Treasurer Meehan, First Selectmen Pemberton, Selectmen Karvelis & Thompson, Board of Education Chair Sobel, nine members of the public, a representative of the Redding Pilot & Hello Redding, and the videographers
Chairman Alvarez called the meeting to order on April 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm in the Hearing Room of the Town Hall.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance accept the minutes of the March 28, 2016 meeting as submitted. Mazzucco, Yonkers. Approved. Unanimous.
REPORT FROM TAX COLLECTOR
Tax Collector Moisio reported that of the budgeted revenue, 45, 137,277, to be collected, and as of today, $45,144,125 has been collected. The office continues to deal with the DMV changes for registrations.
Mr. Dolan arrived, 7:32 pm
Mr. Alvarez asked what is the latest date that the mill rate could be set and still be able to send the tax bills out on time. Mrs. Moisio would like to have the information ready for the printer by mid-May.
REPORT FROM FINANCE DIRECTOR
Mr. Gniadek reported the following:
- Revenue and Expense – for this Fiscal year, I expect both Revenue and Expense to be at, or slightly favorable to, budget
- CAFR – the Town has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the GFOA for our 2015 report.
- State Budget – the Governor’s budget proposal eliminates the entire ECS of $687K and reduces the newly initiated MRSA Sales Tax Sharing by $228k. The final date for passing the State budget is May 4th, which is the day following the Town’s budget referendum.
- Electronic Document Archive – have contracted A&A Office Systems to Laserfische our entire 2014-15 Accounts Payable file. This is the start of a project I recommended last year to electronically capture our accounting documents. They have completed the scanning of the documents and we will be testing on an ongoing basis. If satisfied, we will move forward with converting one year in each budget cycle.
- Data Breach Laws – I have attached an article below which describes Ct Public Act 15-142 as well as a couple of actual examples that have occurred in Medfield, MA and Salt Lake County, Utah. Closer to home, just last month, Danbury schools got hit with a ransomware attack. Accordingly, I am looking into Security Awareness Training for all town employees that have access to the internet.
REPORT FROM TREASURER
Treasurer Meehan provided reports on the status of The Town’s funds. She noted that the rates for CDs are coming down.
DISCUSSION OF STATE BUDGET CUTS TO MUNICIPALITIES
Board members discussed the potential reduction in ECS and Sales Tax Sharing. Mr. Alvarez noted that if the budget is approved next week, and the proposed reductions in revenue are made by the State, the result would be a 2% increase for the mill rate. Mr. Alvarez suggested holding off from setting the mill rate the night of the Referendum vote. He suggested waiting until the regular meeting on May 23 or scheduling a special meeting to set the mill rate. He also commented that he would not favor moving funds from the Fund Balance to keep the mill rate constant. Mr. Alvarez suggested the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education review their current year budgets for possible under expenditures and reexamine their 2016-17 budgets for possible reductions.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance postpone the meeting scheduled for May 3, 2016 and set May 10, 2016 for a special meeting at 7:30 pm in the Redding Town Office Building to set the mill rate. Mazzucco, Dolan. Approved. Unanimous.
Mr. Mazzucco suggested that the work begun to create a common base of information and communication between the Board of Finance and the Board of Education continue. Sara Sobel, Chairman of the Redding Board of Education, commented that the document prepared by Mr. Mazzucco was a good beginning, and the work should move forward from that. Mr. Mazzucco suggested a budget workshop with the two boards should be planned to continue that work.
Mr. Alvarez asked Mrs. Sobel what reductions the Board of Education made to cover the requested $225,000 budget reduction. Mrs. Sobel responded that the reductions included: Reduction of one custodian at RES, Reduction of RES office staff by one person, Reduction of JRMS office staff by one person, Reduction of JRMS nurses from 1.5 FTE to 1.0 FTE, Reduction in equipment, supplies, subscriptions at RES, Elimination of replacement of building equipment, and Reduction in Health Insurance Account. She noted that the reductions have not reduced programs or services for the students.
James Miller, Middlebrook Pond Road: Mr. Miller asked Mr. Alvarez if further consideration would be given to further reductions in the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education budgets. Mr. Alvarez commented that he was not in favor of transferring funds from the Fund Balance to pay for current operating expenses. Mr. Miller noted that the Fund Balance is healthy and asked why some would not be used to offset the impending State revenue reductions. Again, Mr. Alvarez commented that the Fund Balance is not designed to be used to offset current operating expenses, and further noting that Board deliberations regarding the Mill Rate would begin once the Referendum is passed.
Robert Webb, Seventy Acre Road: Mr. Webb thanked the Board of Finance for their work and offered his support for their suggestion to work more closely with the Board of Education on financial matters. He commented that he is aware of some irregularities, including a lack of current financial data for Region 9, and has concerns about a large expenditure of funds for lighting replacement in the Easton and Region 9 schools without consultation with the Boards of Education. He expressed his concern about the financial responsibilities of the schools.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Mazzucco, Dolan. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:22 pm.
Submitted by Mary Maday, Recording Secretary