Board of Finance Special Meeting
Monday, April 3, 2017
8:00 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; Dr. McMorran; members of the Board of Education; Finance Director S. Gniadek; members of the public; reporters.
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 8.00 p.m.
Discussion of FY 2017-18 Budget.
Chairman Alvarez thanked Dr. McMorran for submittal of additional information over the weekend. J. Dolan noted his appreciation for Dr. McMorran and the Board of Education.
Chairman Alvarez noted that part of the missing $300,000 is now represented in the health reserve account. Dr. McMorran stated that it is split into two $150,000 deposits. The current health reserve balance is $406,000 before the second deposit is made.
Dr. Yonkers questioned whether the new budget was derived with the assumption that $150,000 was deposited. M. Lewis noted that the new report does not show a deposit in September as stated by Dr. McMorran.
The average monthly health claims over the last 6 years were reviewed. Per Dr. McMorran, an additional $250,000 will be deposited net year to reach the health reserve number recommended by the BOE insurance broker. Chairman Alvarez stated that the increase in addition to the $150,000 deposit is overfunding the health reserve account. Chairman Alvarez and various other members commented that, in the event of extraordinary unanticipated health care costs, the Board of Finance would “backstop” the liability of the Board of Education. S. Gniadek confirmed that deposits can be made after an audit in the following fiscal year.
Mark Lewis questioned if Dr. McMorran is confident with the accuracy of the numbers in the presented budget given the overspending in some lines which might have resulted in an incorrect starting point. Dr. McMorran that that he is confident the budget represents numbers for which he can run the schools. He also reported that 6 controls have been added to avoid future overages.
Ward Mazzucco commended Dr. McMorran on being a passionate and effective advocate and acknowledged the interest of Redding parents in ensuring an excellent education for their children. He continued that he nevertheless disagrees with the proposed budget noting the possible teacher pension costs, lower municipal funding in the State budget, declining enrollment in Redding and the BAN/bond conversion costs. The state demographic and population numbers also do not bode well for the community going forward and Mr. Mazzucco reported on per capital incomes in DRG A showing Redding has the lowest median family income, however, has a per pupil cost second only to Weston.
W. Mazzucco moved and M. Lewis seconded, to reduce the Board of Education budget by $400,000. Alvarez, Mazzucco and Lewis approved. Yonkers, Dolan and Clark opposed, so the motion failed.
J. Dolan moved and S. Clark seconded, to reduce the proposed Board of Education budget by $200,000. Dolan, Clark and Yonkers approved. Lewis, Mazzucco and Alvarez opposed, so the motion failed.
On the motion of M. Lewis and the second of J. Dolan, the Board voted to approve the reduction of the Board of Education budget by $250,000. Clark, Lewis, Dolan and Alvarez approved. Mazzucco and Yonkers opposed.
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of K. Yonkers, the Board voted to approve an addition to the Selectmen’s Budget of an increase $50,000 to the contingency account to be paid from unassigned Fund Balance (so that there will be no cost to the taxpayers this year) for a potential investigation or inquiry concerning financial matters in the Central Office. J. Dolan opposed. Dr. McMorran noted that it remains unclear whether he and his staff are obligated or authorized to cooperate with such an inquiry.
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of J. Dolan, the Board voted unanimously to revise the Selectmen’s Budget to $14,753,515.
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of K. Yonkers, the Board voted unanimously to affirm the allocation of $208,000 to committed Fund Balance.
On the motion of W. Mazzucco and the second of K. Yonkers, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly