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Minutes of Board of Finance, 01/25/2016

AGENDA: Board of Finance

RECEIVED 02/01/2016 8:30am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Board of Finance: Alvarez (Chairman), Clark, Dolan, Mazzucco, O’Donnell, Yonkers
Also present: Finance Director Gniadek, Treasurer Meehan, Tax Collector Moisio, First Selectmen Pemberton, Selectmen Karvelis & Thompson, Board of Education Chair Sobel, seven members of the public, a representative of the Redding Pilot and the videographers

Chairman Alvarez called the meeting to order on January 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm in the Hearing Room of the Town Hall.

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance accept the minutes of the December 14, 2015 meeting as amended. O’Donnell, Mazzucco. Approved.  5-0-1. Mr. Dolan abstained.

Amendment:  typo on meeting time.

Tax Collector Moisio reported that collection rate as of today was 73%, but she anticipates that the banks will submit payments in the next day or so.  Taxes are due at the end of January.

Mrs. Moisio also provided a “Master Control” report that includes year-to-date statistics.  She will provide this report on a monthly basis.

Mr. Gniadek reported on the following:

  • Equipment lease: the lease for the dump truck was put out to bid and People’s Bank was chosen. Their aggressive rate will result in a savings of about $2,100 over the term of the lease.
  • Insurance, Life and Short Term Liability:  By switching the Short/Long Term Disability and Life Insurance to Anthem from Sun Life, there will be a savings of 17% or $9,300 per year. Since the Town currently uses Anthem for medical insurance, they offered an additional 2% reduction in medical insurance, to be effective 2/1/2016, resulting in an annual $28,000 savings on medical premiums.
  • CD vendors: Mr. Gniadek and Treasure Meehan have met with representatives from Alvarez and Marsal, and Janney Montgomery Scott to review their CD investment programs and discuss alternatives as defined in the Town’s Investment Policy and State statutes.
  • Investment Policy: Mr. Gniadek provided a copy of the Board’s investment policy.
  • Budget Workshop follow-up: Mr. Gniadek commented that the Board of Finance’s decision on the BAN renewal or Bonding will have an impact on budget planning.
  • Capital Requests:  The Annex building is in need of repair, including roofing, siding and windows. The estimate is $50,000 for the work.  The Umpawaug Schoolhouse, which is owned by the Town, is also in need of repair.  The work on the building is estimated at $50,000. The historical structure was reviewed by an expert in the field and a detailed analysis was provided. The Board of Finance will need to decide on whether to include these costs in the operating budget or Capital Nonrecurring account as neither reaches the $100,000 threshold for long term financing as defined in the Debt Management policy.

The Board of Finance discussed the two capital requests and how to fund them.

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance approve the transfer of $100,000 from the Capital Nonrecurring Fund for the repair work on the Annex building and the Umpawaug Schoolhouse and request the Board of Selectmen to schedule a Town Meeting to approve the expenditure or include the request in the May referendum.  Yonkers, Mazzucco. Approved. Unanimous.

Mr. Gniadek also noted that, per Public Act 13-60, the Board of Finance can review the Board of Educations proposed budget costs for maintenance of the schools and make recommendations or suggestions on consolidations of noneducational services and financial efficiencies. The Board of Education may accept or reject the suggestions and must provide written explanation for rejection.

Mr. Alvarez stated that this review would be scheduled for the February meeting.  The Board of Finance will have 10 days after the submittal to make recommendations to the Board of Education on the itemized estimate.

Mrs. Meehan provided a written report. She noted that interest rates are creeping up. She is reviewing various CD vendors. The vendor previously used is closing the business, but other vendors are available.

Mr. Mazzucco noted that the concept is to ladder CD’s to provide greater income, yet maintain flexibility in fund availability and liquidity.

The current $10 million BAN matures in March. The Board can renew the BANS or go out to Bonding. The Board discussed the options and the additional capital requests that are being considered. The schools are planning a $2,000.000 request for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) work at John Read Middle School in the next fiscal year, and $2,000,000 in the following year for the same work at Redding Elementary School.   The Road Reconstruction work, approved for a total of $6,700,000, will be in year 3 on July 1, and the request for next year is $1,500,000.

The Town’s financial advisor, Matthew Spoerndle of Phoenix Advisors, was present and provided insight into the options available.  He suggested consideration be given to a bond refund for the 2010 Bond 6,500,000 issue.  That could be refunded with savings of about $250,000.  The savings from the refunding could be allocated at the direction of the Board of Finance. His recommendation was to take action on this and renew the BANS. The BAN rollover could be for a 12-month period and the Board of Finance could determine further financial options in March of 2017.

Discussion followed.

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance recommend to the Board of Selectmen the refunding of the current 2010 Bond, up to $7,500.000, as discussed.  Mazzucco, Yonkers.  Approved. Unanimous.

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance recommend to the Board of Selectmen the renewal of the current outstanding BAN, plus additional expenses for the Stepney Bridge project and Year 3 of the Road Reconstruction project, for a total not to exceed $14,500,000, to March 2017.  Mazzucco, Dolan. Approved. Unanimous.

Richard Regan, Chairman of the WPCC, explained the WPCC request for funding for the replacement of a drum screener at the Georgetown Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant has two drum screeners which are the initial screeners of material entering the treatment plant.  One screener is damaged beyond repair and needs to be replaced.  The request is for to $35,000 and includes a contingency for unforeseen expenses.

Discussion followed on how to fund the request.  The Board of Finance agreed that the expense could be covered in the current year operating budget maintenance account. There was agreement that if the WPCC exceeds the current year expenses prior to the end of the fiscal year, they would request an additional appropriation.

Mr. Mazzucco commented on the need for consistent reporting of information from the Board of Education on financial matters.  He prepared a draft document consideration by the Board of Education.  The document included providing information on personnel expenses, including administrators in the schools and Central Office, teachers and paraprofessionals, and all other staff (facilities, maintenance, curriculum, supplies, etc) Comparison with other DRG A schools was requested, along with per pupil costs for Redding and other DRG A schools. Performance data, for students, teachers and administrators is included. ( a copy of the document is attached to the minutes)

Chairman of the Board of Education, Sara Sobel, commented that the board and administration will work cooperatively with the Board of Finance and provide the data, but it will take some time to collect the information. She encouraged Board of Finance members to tour the schools, to observe the classrooms instruction and the operations of each of the schools.

Keith Rich, Putman Park Road: Mr. Rich commented on the number of teachers at the top of the pay schedule and suggested that an early retirement incentive might be considered by the Board of Education.

Motion: move to adjourn the meeting.  Dolan, Mazzucco Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 pm.

Submitted by Mary Maday, Recording Secretary

Draft 1.8.16

Each year, the school administration presents, and the Board of Education reviews, a budget to fund excellent, cost-effective education in Redding.  The Board of Finance also reviews the budget to confirm that the goals of the Board of Education and of the voters of the community have been met.  And, ultimately, the voters are called upon to consider the budget in a referendum.

Over the years, the administration and the Board of Education have presented, and the Board of Finance has sought, information in varying formats.  This ad hoc process has probably created additional work for all concerned, delayed a detailed review of the proposed budget by the Board of Education and the Board of Finance, and created a perception of tension between the Boards.

The objectives of this memorandum are to (i) create a budget format that would be most helpful, on a consistent basis, to both Boards, (ii) provide a context for each budget, principally in comparison to DRG A schools, and (iii) to provide relevant information on the performance of students, teachers, and administrators, in part by comparison to DRG A schools.  Presenting information in a standard and more comprehensive standard format should more closely align the perspectives of the Board of Education and the Board of Finance.  Of course, members of both Boards and the public may still have questions, but the effort needed to present and answer those questions should be reduced.

Such a comprehensive and standardized presentation of budget information may entail a good deal of effort initially but should be simpler, easier, and more informative for the Boards and for the voters in the future.

An overall presentation with more expansive descriptions for the various line items, identification of all increases (whether or not they are continuations of existing programs), comparison of proposed expenditures to prior appropriations and expenditures, and a summary of all transfers  among line items for the previous year.

In addition to the traditional presentation, a supplement should show the percentages of each budget allocated to:

A.  Personnel (expressed in absolute and per-pupil cost)

  • Administrators in central office
  • Administrators in the schools
  • Teachers and paraprofessionals
  • All other staff

B.  Non-Personnel (expressed in absolute and per-pupil cost)

  • Facilities and Maintenance
  • Curriculum and Supplies

The cost of consultants should also be shown, in absolute and per-pupil cost, together with a summary of the tasks assigned to each consultant.

Comparisons to other DRG A schools should be included, if comparable data are available.

Additional information (beyond the budget, itself) would provide useful context and would help to reveal trends and potential areas of concern.  Thus, the following data should ideally be presented for the proposed, current, and preceding ten years:

Per-pupil costs for Redding and for all other DRG A schools, with census data for each on household income and other relevant factors.  Other districts, outside of DRG A, may be included if comparable to Redding in income and school population.

School population; average class size (including all classes offered, as well as core classes); number of sections by grade; certified instructional staff annual average tenure; percentage of students requiring state reimbursed special services; percentage of the budget devoted to those special services; aggregate certified compensation cost per pupil; non-certified compensation cost per pupil; administrative compensation cost per pupil; transportation cost per pupil; annual aggregate FTE certified retirements; headcount of certified instructional, non-certified classroom support, certified administrative and non-certified administrative support staff by function; and, annual aggregate and per pupil building and campus operating (non-instructional) cost.

[Comment: the proportion of students and all instructional personnel for each class and as an average has been very difficult to assess.  This will require some discussion.]

The following data should be presented for the latest and five preceding years:

  • Those metrics the District considers annually to gauge student growth and achievement by grade level, such as average standardized test scores administered K-8 each year, together with other recognized measures of student performance, such as SBAC, NWEA, in comparison to all DRG A schools.
  • Average standardized test scores administered in grade 9, broken down by Redding students and Easton students.
  • Participation rates and other information to gauge the comprehensiveness of the testing.
  • Number of teachers dismissed or on performance plans.
  • Number of teachers who have resigned.
  • Number and percentage of school-eligible students by grade being home schooled or attending private/parochial schools


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