MINUTES OF BOARD OF FINANCE
Monday, February 27, 2017
Town Hall Meeting Room, 7:30 p.m.
Present: W. Alvarez, Chairman; S. Clark; W. Mazzucco; J. Dolan; K. Yonkers; Mark Lewis.
Also present: J. Pemberton, First Selectman, M. Thompson, Selectman; P. O’Donnell, Selectman; Finance Director Gniadek; School Superintendent Dr. McMorran; members of the public; Board of Education members; Treasure J. Meehan; Tax Collector P. Moisio; Redding Pilot reporter; videographers.
Chairman Alvarez called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.
1. To approve Minutes of Regular Meeting held January 23, 2017
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of J. Dolan, the Board voted unanimously to approve the 1/23/17 Meeting Minutes.
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of J. Dolan, the Board voted unanimously to move Agenda Item 9, Board of Ed 2017-2018 Budget Presentation, to Item 2.
2. Board of Ed 2017-2018 Budget Presentation
Dr. McMorran reviewed the proposed 2017-2018 budget. A budget workshop is scheduled for 3/2/17. Chairman Alvarez requested additional information re: medical insurance and reserve costs. The proposed budget “while maintaining programs” is $21,002,623. Chairman Alvarez clarified that that there are ways to reduce a budget without decreasing programs.
Projected enrollments for the next 10 years were reviewed. Dr.Yonkers asked what would happen to the budget if there were additional students enrolled. He replied that he would have to hire several more teachers. Dr. McMorran noted the financial challenges with increased special education enrollment that mandates services until the age of 21.
Susan Clark questioned whether a fee for out-of-town students is being considered. Dr. McMorran said that the program works well but deferred to the Board of Education. She asked whether he was recommending that program to the Region 9 and Easton boards. He said he is not.
Mark Lewis would like a metric with which to analyze staffing sizes of the last 10 years.
3. Tax Collector Report
Pat Moisio reported that the budget is at 100% with a total of 97.4% which is better than the prior year. A counterfeit detector has been purchased. A new ATM machine is needed. She reported on the potential tax sale of a property with a delinquency.
4. Grant List October 1, 2016
John Ford reported practically no increase.
5. Finance Director Report
Steve Gniadek reported that the bond sale closed 2/15/17 at 2.924%. A premium of $935,892 will be paid to the Town. Reimbursement for money from the General Fund for HVAC and Stepney Road Bridge Project will take place at the Bond closing on 3/15/17.
6. Treasurer Report
Treasurer Meehan reviewed current balances. She will be attending a Treasurers conference at the end of March, 2017.
7. Bond Premium Use
Steve Gniadek stated that the bond premium can be used at the discretion of the Board of Finance. Chairman Alvarez noted that a debt service account needs to be set up. Mr. Gniadek presented a chart of how such an account could be used to defray bond costs in the future to minimize the impact of the higher coupon rate of interest on the bonds.
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of K. Yonkers, the Board voted unanimously to establish a debt service Special Revenue Fund for the bond premium of $935,892 to be set aside and invested by the Town Treasurer and to be used for principal or interest payment on debt, or other purposes as properly authorized by the Board.
8. Reaffirm Subcommittee formed by Consensus at November 28, 2016 meeting regarding Assessment of Financial Operations of Central Office Handling Redding’s Board of Education Budget.
Chairman Alvarez confirmed formation of a BOF Subcommittee with Steve Gnidek. Sara Sobel (who has moved to Region 9) and Michael Hoffman have also been participating. Those members will continue to offer their expertise unless their Board directs otherwise. It is anticipated that the BOE will appoint a second member to replace Ms. Sobel. A meeting was held today and three firms were interviewed as possible evaluators of the Central Office handling of the BOE budget. Mr. Alvarez noted that Dr. McMorran was working on a report of his own concerning the financial issues in his department and planned to furnish it to the BOE and to him in early March.
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of K. Yonkers, the Board voted unanimously to confirm formation of a Subcommittee to evaluate controls and spending irregularities that occurred with the Administration and to invite the Board of Education to join.
Chairman Alvarez noted for clarification that the extension of the term for the town’s auditors was subject to a contract that was the subject of a competitive bid. The auditors were not subject to a no-bid contract as some residents may have thought.
9. BOE Operations/Maintenance Expense Review per PA13-60.
Mr. Dolan questioned why the investigation is being led by BOF. Chairman Alvarez confirmed that the purpose was to gather information for a report.
Susan Clark noted inconsistencies in maintenance contracts. Dr. Yonkers questions the high cost of photocopy usage. The BOE was asked to determine whether the estimate for fuel oil could be reduced in light of the $5,000,000+ HVAC work.
10. Reports from Individual Board members as assigned
No member reports. Chairman Alvarez requested any public comment.
Colleen Pilato clarified how teachers utilize photocopies. Vanessa Alward questioned if funding for the Mark Twain Library was need based. She also asked if the Senior Tax Credit was means tested. Alex Gray commented that we can’t pick and choose what services are provided based on other towns. Chris Parkin read a letter noting the intent of legislation PA13-60. Jen Simpson voiced her support of Dr. McMorran’s proposed budget. Amy Arnold questioned if the Board has come up with ways to raise revenue instead of reducing the budget.
11. 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 9:25 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly