Board of Finance
Monday, March 27, 2017
7:30 p.m., Town Hall Hearing Room
Present: William Alvarez, Chairman; S. Clark, J. Dolan; W. Mazzucco; K. Yonkers; M. Lewis.
Also present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectman; P. O’Donnell, M. Thompson, Selectmen; S. Gniadek; P. Moisio; Members of the Board of Education; members of the public; videographer; reporter.
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:34 p.m.
1. To approve Minutes of Meetings held on February 27, 2017 and March 2, 2017
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of S. Clark, the Board voted unanimously to approve the 2/27/17 and 3/2/17 Meeting Minutes.
2. Public Hearing Comments – Carryover Budget Discussion
Members of the public were present to comment on the proposed budget for FY 2017-18. Dana Gray stated that a 5% increase is too high and is not in favor. C. Riordan requested funding for the Mark Twain Library. Julia Pemberton clarified that the Selectmen’s budget as proposed represents a 2.1% increase. The budget would only increase to over 5% if the State passes along the teacher retirement benefit requirement to the Town. She noted that at the present time, there aren’t enough votes to pass so it is questionable.
A resident requested a clear and concise referendum. J. Wyss stated that every line item should be scrutinized in an effort to create more budget cuts. The Board was encouraged to think ahead and outside the box. C. Racette noted the need to set up a system where students can thrive. M. Irwin stated that out of 77 towns, Redding falls at the bottom for school budget increases.
Tom Elkin stated education costs should be billed like a utility. Chris Parkin noted that programs are already cut and his support for the budget as proposed. R. Anderson stated that declining enrollment can be an opportunity for smaller student/teacher ratios. L. Goldstein wants to know what towns are being consulted with by the Board.
M. Hoffman encouraged focusing on Redding and dealing with Hartford if Hartford issues arise in Redding. K. Rich stated that stress on teachers makes it harder for them to do their jobs. A. Arnold would like the Board to state what should be cut. L. Mitchell noted her support for Dr. McMorran and would like the parties involved to look forward, not back.
3. Tax Collector’s Report
Pat Moisio reported tax collections at $400,000 over budget with $90,000 unpaid. Purchase of a new ATM machine is pending.
4. Finance Director’s Report
Steve Gniadek reported on the Debt Service Fund. The Bond Premium of $935,892 has been transferred to the Special Revenue fund and bond fees totaling $60,325 have been taken out.
The fiscal year Revenue forecast is projected to be unfavorable to budget by $36,000. The fiscal year Expense forecast is estimated to be $617,000 favorable.
5. Treasurer’s Report
Chairman Alvarez provided a summary of the Treasurer’s Report.
6. Discussion of FY 2017-18 Budget Proposals
The Town budget represents an increase of 4.5%. J. Pemberton stated that the increase is entirely associated with debt service. The new mill rate was calculated at 29.24.
On the motion of K. Yonkers and the second of W. Mazzucco, the Board voted unanimously to use 50% of $407,000 to defray costs this year and against the debt service for next year. The entire amount will be moved into the Special Revenue fund.
Dr. Yonkers asked J. Pemberton to review Police Department reductions. J. Pemberton responded that in lieu of an immediate staff reduction, the budget was reduced by $60,000.
On the motion of J. Dolan and the second of J. Dolan and the second of K. Yonkers, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Selectmen’s Budget at $14,703,515.
The proposed BOE Budget is presented at $21,002,623. Chairman Alvarez noted that the $300,000 health reserves surplus is not included on the submitted report. M. Lewis is expecting clarification or a new report from Dr. McMorran 3/28/17.
Ward Mazzucco stated that the Town is facing an unprecedented threat to the municipality and fiscal health and disagrees with Dr. McMorran’s budget. Mr. Mazzucco also noted that Redding is at the top of the list in per pupil expense in both the State and in DRG A.
A total of 15 out-of-town students was reported by Dr. McMorran. Mr. Mazzucco stated that the practice of educating out-of-town students diverts resources away from Redding. Melanie Irwin reported that there are 11 out-of-district students. BOE will discuss the issue with the Teacher’s Union to potentially grandfather the current students going forward.
Mr. Dolan remarked on the rate of increases and decreases over the last six years in DRG A and stated that it sends a message to the marketplace that Redding is not a good town. Mr. Dolan noted his support for the budget as presented and agreed that an accurate reporting of the $300,000 is needed.
A meeting is scheduled for Mon., 4/3/17 at 8:00 p.m. for further discussion on FY 2017-18 Budget Proposals.
7. Reports from Individual Board members as assigned
8. Correspondence and Administrative Matters
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of M. Lewis, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly