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Minutes of Board of Finance, 10/28/2013

AGENDA: Board of Finance

RECEIVED 10/31/2013 11:08am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Minutes

Present: Alvarez (Chairman), Clark, DeSalvo, Mazzucco, Yonkers

Also present: First Selectmen Ketcham, Selectman Pemberton, Selectman Takacs, Finance Director Gniadek, Treasurer O’Donnell, Tax Collector Moisio, and 13 members of the public.

Before the official start of the meeting, Chairman Alvarez recognized Rand Guffey for his dedication and service on the Board of Finance. He also noted that this was the last meeting for Mrs. Ketcham and Mr. Takacs in their capacity as First Selectman and Selectman. Mr. Alvarez invited those present to remain at the conclusion of the meeting for cake and conversation.

Chairman Alvarez called the October 28, 2013 meeting to order at 7:38 pm.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Motion: move to approve the minutes of the Special Meeting on September 23, 2013 and the regular meeting on  September 23, 2013 as submitted. DeSalvo, Mazzucco. Approved. Unanimous but Mrs. Clark abstained on the on the minutes of the Special Meeting.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Rosalind Kopfstein, Diamond Hill Road: Mrs. Kopfstein, Chairman of the Redding Commission on Aging, requested that the Board of Finance consult the Commission on Aging regarding the discussions on the Elderly Tax Benefit review. Mr. Alvarez responded that the next meeting of the subcommittee would be scheduled when Mr. Dolan was available, and would be an open and posted meeting, and that members of the Commission on Aging were welcome to attend the meeting.

TAX COLLECTOR’S REPORT

Tax Collector Moisio reported that, as of today, 53.3% of the budgeted tax revenue was collected. She provided a chart showing the monthly collection percentage over the past six years.

Dr. Yonkers asked what amount of back real estate taxes was owed to the Town of Redding by the Georgetown Land Development Company. Mrs. Moisio responded that the amount is about $2 million. The Town holds liens on each parcel of real estate within the development area.

Mrs. Ketcham provided an update on recent developments on the property. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has approved a grant for $5,600,000 for infrastructure and sent the grant approval to the Office of Policy & Management for consideration by the Bond Commission at their October meeting. That October meeting was cancelled and the next meeting is scheduled for a date in December.  The proposed infrastructure work is considered to be the last step needed to move this project forward for a sale. The funding would be in two parcels, with the first for $2,000,000 to cover the improvements of the Norwalk River Flood Walls. The additional $3.6 million will be requested by the GSTD in the upcoming fiscal year to complete remaining improvements needed for the redevelopment. Mrs. Ketcham noted that a good deal of support communication for the project from Redding and the surrounding communities has been forwarded to the Bond Commission for their deliberation. The project is considered very important to Redding, the region and the state.

Mrs. Moisio reported that research work on the “orphan” parcels of land has begun. As she noted at the last meeting, these are small parcels of land discovered during the GIS mapping of properties conversion. In one case, it was discovered that the parcel was the result of a transposition of numbers that was not identified at the time of real estate transfer. That particular case has been corrected.

FINANCE DIRECTOR REPORT

Mr. Gniadek highlighted his written report.

  • Revenue: FEMA reimbursement for the February 2013 Snowstorm Nemo was received and totaled $70,000. Still outstanding is $210,000 for Storm Sandy, and an additional $50,000 that was submitted for debris grinding/removal.
  • Office supplies and insurance spending: A contract was signed with Expense Reduction Analysts to review and analyze the Town’s spending on office supplies and insurance (excluding Health Insurance). If their recommendations are implemented based on their analysis, the firm will received 50% of the savings for a two-year period. Mr. Gniadek noted that the Board of Education is interested in exploring these services.
  • NESGFOA: Mr. Gniadek reported on a couple of items from the conference he attended last month. Effective for the next fiscal year, the Town will be required under GASB 86 to report the Net Pension Liability calculated as a proportionate share of the State CMERS pension plan. Mr. Gniadek also commented on the need to move to use of technology (electronic) purchases, noting that the average purchasing card transaction costs $21.91 to process versus $92.49 for traditional purchase orders.
  • Audit Report: the draft audit report is expected to be completed in the next few days. Mr. Gniadek will email copies to board members for review and questions. Joe Kask of Blum Shapiro will be at the November Board of Finance meeting to review the report and answer questions.
  • Bid Limit Increase: Mr. Gniadek reported that the CT General Assembly passed Public Act No. 12-17 on October 1, 2013 which allows municipalities to raise their competitive bidding requirements to $25,000. He recommended that the Town of Redding amend the purchasing policy to reflect this change. The current limit for Redding is $20,000.

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance amend the purchasing policy to raise the competitive bid requirement to $25,000. Mazzucco, DeSalvo. Approved. Unanimous.

  • CT Education Network: Mr. Gniadek reported the CT legislature passed a bill which will incentivize municipalities to migrate to the CT Education Network over the next two years.  Grant money is available for the installation of the fiber wire connections, and subsidies through June 2015 for monthly service. He has submitted a request to join the network.
  • Annual Joint Meeting: the joint meeting of the Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen & Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, December 16, 2013 in the Redding Community Center.

Mr. Mazzucco requested that the Board of Education provide actual enrollment data showing a comparison of student enrollment by grade for the current year and the previous year. Enrollment data for the current year and projections for the next year was received.

TREASURER’S REPORT

Treasurer O’Donnell submitted a written report of the Town’s cash balances. The cash balance in the General Fund was $15,376,442. The cash balance in the Capital Nonrecurring is $878,091, and that reflects encumbered items, RES/JRMS Security Upgrades &Water System Improvement. Mr. Alvarez requested that reports from the Treasurer be emailed a least a day in advance to allow proper time for review.

  • Region 9 recently sold a BAN with an interest rate of 24.4 basis points for the 9-month BAN. The Town of Redding has a BAN, at 20.63 basis points, due to roll over on December 19, 2013. The Board will need to decide if they roll over the entire balance, add new money, or pay off some of the BAN with the debt reserve that has been created.
  • CD purchase: a third electronic CD was purchased with a rate of 40 basis points for the 6-month CD. Mrs. O’Donnell noted that there was no interest from the banks for an additional CD at that rate. She noted that there were only six banks interested in 6-month CDs.
  • eCD Market: Mrs. O’Donnell reported that information on what other towns use eCD Markets is hard to find. The account representative would not release that information, and would only disclose that less than 100 of the CDs have been sold in the last year or so.
  • CD rates: Mrs. O’Donnell contacted 16 Connecticut banks for their CD rates. The rates are less than the eCD rates, and some banks were not quoting CDs at all, suggesting the use of Money Market accounts. The use of Money Market accounts would require further investigation to determine if they conform to the investment policy and investment in these accounts would need approval of the Board of Finance.
  • Bank: the subcommittee exploring bank options is nearing the completion of their work and will have a recommendation for the next meeting.

Mr. Mazzucco inquired whether Mrs. O’Donnell had investigated one-year certificates of deposit.  Mrs. O’Donnell replied that she had, and that they carry a higher rate, but she wanted to keep the terms short, as she expected interest rates to rise.

WPCC UPDATE

James Miller, a member of the WPCC, reported on the membrane replacement project. The project was successfully completed, with the system up and running on October 1, 2013. The operation is being monitored by the Veolia operators and representatives of Layne Christenson. Adjustments are being made as necessary, but Mr. Miller stated that the new membranes are functioning well. The need to haul wastewater offsite was concluded when the system was brought online. The old membranes are being disposed of, but the steel and aluminum portions of the old system will be collected, with the assistance of the Transfer & Recycling Station, and sold. That money will be put into the WPCC account and used to offset costs.

BOARD MEMBER REPORTS

Mr. DeSalvo noted that he received comments and calls regarding the soil material being removed from the Joel Barlow High School stadium site. He clarified that the soil does not below to the Town of Redding, but to Region 9, and that per the terms of the contract of the contractor, the truckers remove and sell the topsoil to offset the costs of the project.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mrs. Ketcham commented that it had been a pleasure working with the Board of Finance over the 14 years of service.

Rand Guffey commented that he agreed with Mrs. Ketcham’s comments and he thanked the Board of Finance.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance meeting be adjourned. DeSalvo, Mazzucco. Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Maday, Recording Secretary