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Minutes of Board of Finance, 06/23/2014

AGENDA: Board of Finance

RECEIVED 06/26/2014 2:38pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Minutes

Present: Alvarez (Chairman), Clark, DeSalvo, Dolan, Mazzucco, Yonkers
Also present: four members of the public, First Selectman Pemberton, Selectman Karvelis, Selectman Thompson, Lori McHale (Finance Department). Treasurer O’Donnell, Tax Collector Moisio, a representative of the Redding Pilot and the videographers

Chairman Alvarez called the meeting on June 23, 2014 to order at 7:30 pm in the Hearing Room of the Redding Town Hall..

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance accept the minutes of the May 6, 2014 meeting as submitted. Mazzucco, DeSalvo. Approved. Unanimous.

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance accept the minutes of the May 16 meeting as submitted. Mazzucco, DeSalvo. Approved. 3-0-3. Ms. Clark, Dr. Yonkers and Mr. Dolan abstained.

TAX COLLECTOR REPORT
Mrs. Moisio reported that tax collection is winding down at this time. The tax bills for July 1 will be mailed out this week. She presented the Suspense List, the list of uncollected tax for the 2010 Grand List. The list included uncollected tax for personal property, motor vehicle and motor vehicle supplemental. These will be sent to a collection agency for further collection efforts.

Dr. Yonkers asked about the increase in the applications for the Elderly Tax Benefit and asked for a report for the next meeting. Mrs. Moisio noted that due to the publicity on the Benefit, many new applications were received this year. Discussion followed on the procedure used to assure that those entitled to the Benefit were qualified to receive the benefit and the need for the committee to reconvene to review the Elderly Tax Benefit Ordinance further. Mr. Dolan will reassess the direction for the committee and make a recommendation at the next meeting.

Mrs. Moisio pointed out that the current Elderly Tax Benefit ordinance requires homeowners to apply first for the state elderly tax benefit. She noted that the maximum income allowed by that program is about $14,000, so few residents would qualify. Board members indicated that the Assessor should enforce the current ordinance, as written, until such time as the ordinance may be changed. Dr. Yonkers and Mr. Alvarez listed several ways in which members of the public should be informed of the requirements of the current ordinance.

Mrs. Moisio provided a report on the current tax obligations for the Georgetown Land Development Corporation parcels.

  1. Property tax for GLDC, this excludes the JP Industrial parcel, $2,336,630.33
  2. Sewer taxes due for 20 North Main Street for 2011 & 2012, $1,466.22
  3. Property tax for JP Industrial parcel, $66,881.47

In addition, the “Delta” payment for the Sewer Wastewater Treatment Facility is $1,304,608.10. The taxes and interest due to the Georgetown Special Taxing District amount to about $14,500,000.

FINANCE DIRECTOR REPORT
Mr. Gniadek was not present, and Lori McHale presented his report. He indicated he is forecasting an end of year unexpended balance of $226,000. On the expense side, he has changed the insurance broker commission base contract to a negotiated fee arrangement. He anticipates there will be an initial savings of $14,000/year from the new arrangement.

The bank change from Union Savings to Webster Bank is going well. The staff training is nearly complete. Balance transfers and expenditure processing will begin in July.

Mr. Gniadek also reported the Water Pollution Control Commission has not finalized the loan agreement because commissioners thought the felt they might be personally liable. The town attorney is continuing work on the wording of the agreement to try to address their concerns. Mr. Alvarez pointed out that the document was drafted to obligate the WPCC, and not its members, to reimburse the town, when and if the land owner pays off the lien for the delinquent delta amounts.

TREASURER REPORT
Treasurer O’Donnell provided a written report and noted that the current cash balance was $9.155.779. She added that the transition to Webster bank is ongoing, checks are being printed and the office staff and selectmen have been trained in the cash management system. One CD with One West Bank came due and was renewed at a rate of 75 basis points for a one year period. No new CDs have been purchased due to the move to a new bank and that this is a low point in cash balances. Once tax collections begin, more investments can be considered.

LONG RANGE FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE REPORT
Mr. Karvelis reported on the recommendations of the Long Range Financial Planning Committee. The recommendations included budgeting the cost of Reassessment over five years and moving some capital items forward to a town meeting for approval and funding. The capital items are:

Road Reconstruction, 4-year plan for a total of $6,753,000,
Lift gate truck (Highway Department), $70,000
Communications Tower (Police Department), $300,000
Animal Control Van, $35,000
Radio Replacement (Police Department), $110,000
Total: $7,268,000

Board members discussed the road reconstruction project, and what was planned over the four years. Mr. Hansen clarified the work being done and the different approaches used on the roads depending on the current road condition. He suggested that the regular road maintenance budget is low compared to surrounding communities and that could be addressed when setting the operating budget. Ongoing maintenance is critical to preserve the roadways.

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance recommend to the Board of Selectmen the setting of a Town Meeting to approve the funding of the following projects,

Road Reconstruction, 4-year plan for a total of $6,753,000,
Lift gate truck (Highway Department), $70,000
Communications Tower (Police Department), $300,000
Animal Control Van, $35,000
Radio Replacement (Police Department), $110,000

Total: up to $7,268,000, to be funded through short term borrowing pending long term financing.. Yonkers, Mazzucco. Approved. Unanimous.

The Board discussed the capital funding request from the Redding Board of Education. Dr. Josefsberg was present representing the Board of Education. The Capital Plan called for funding in fiscal year 14-15 for AC & Ventilation design work at both schools, electrical rewiring of a portion of RES, paving and curbing at both schools, and front entry redesign work (entrance & sidewalks) for RES. Dr. Josefsberg indicated that it was too late for these projects to move forward and for the work to be accomplished this summer.

Board members discussed the future of both schools and the potential for the Board of Education to close one school due to the decline in student enrollment. Members of the Board of Education and Board of Finance have a committee looking at various options for dealing with declining enrollment and the Minimum Budget Requirements and a report from the committee is due to the full board at the September or October meeting. There were questions on the RES front entry proposal. Dr. Josefsberg indicated the proposal includes adding a second security door and associated work on the sidewalks. While the second door is a security issue, the primary door is secure, there is a person monitoring the door, and the School Resource Officer is frequently stationed at the entry. Dr. Josefsberg indicated the walkway is not a safety concern. Further, Board members also noted that any “capital’ expenditures which are not bonded could help in reaching the Minimum Budget Requirement in future years.

The Board of Finance determined that the capital items for the schools could be deferred until further information on the report on the future needs for schools is more certain.

Mr. Karvelis noted that the community would like to have the capital items considered as part of the budget discussions and voted on when the operating budget is voted on.

EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion: move to recess to executive session for a discussion of Employee Wage Adjustments and Pending Litigation. Mazzucco, Yonkers. Approved. Unanimous.
Mrs. Pemberton, Mr. Karvelis and Mr. Thompson were invited to be present.

The meeting recessed at 8:53 pm.

RECONVENE
The Chair reconvened the meeting at 9:40 pm.

Motion: To approve the transfer of $97,960 from the contingency account to the salary account. DeSalvo, Dolan. Unanimous.

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

The meeting adjourned at 9:41 pm

Respectfully submitted,
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary