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Minutes of Board of Finance, 11/25/2019

AGENDA: Board of Finance

RECEIVED 12/03/2019 5:14pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

TOWN OF REDDING
BOARD OF FINANCE REGULAR MEETING
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2019
TOWN HALL HEARING ROOM

Filed subject to approval.

Present:
Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, Chair; Ward Mazzucco, Vice Chair; Jenifer Wyss; Rob Dean; Jamie Barickman

Also Present:
Steve Gniadek, Finance Director; Pat Moisio, Tax Collector; First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton; Selectwoman Peg O’Donnell; Members of the Public

Because the Chair was ill and had trouble speaking, Mr. Mazzucco called the meeting to order at 7:30PM.

1. ELECTION OF CHAIRPERSON AND VICE CHAIRPERSON

Mr. Mazzucco thanked Chair Yonkers for her leadership of the board.

MOTION:
Mr. Dean made a motion to nominate Dr.Yonkers as the Chair of the Board of Finance. Ms. Wyss seconded the motion. Mr. Barickman said she would continue to make a great Chair. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

MOTION:
Ms. Wyss made a motion to nominate Mr. Mazzucco as the Vice Chair of the Board of Finance. Chair Yonkers seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

2. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE BOF MEETING HELD ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2019

MOTION:

Mr. Barickman made a motion to approve the minutes of the BOF meeting held on Monday, October 28, 2019. Mr. Dean seconded the motion. There were four yes votes (Barickman, Dean, Yonkers, and Mazzucco) and one abstention (Wyss). The motion carried.

3. PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Mazzucco opened the floor to public comment.

A Redding Boy Scout discussed his effort to obtain a badge by observing the BOF meeting and seeing if a member of the BOF could convince another member of their point of view.

4. TAX COLLECTOR’S REPORT

Pat Moisio addressed the BOF.

At the end of October, the Town of Redding was behind on tax collections compared to FY 2019, having collected only 53.9% of the budget. The current status of tax collections is 54.5% of the budget.

The Town is working with a new collection agency. Money is slowly coming in due to collections on old motor vehicle and personal property taxes.

There will be a Tax Sale in April with 32 properties involved currently. This number will decrease as the deadline approaches, as evidenced by the past tax sale.

The Supplemental Motor Vehicle tax bills have been proofed for QDS. They will be printed and mailed out next week. This will add $437,000 additional tax revenue

Georgetown remains the same. Interest has grown larger than the tax bill.

Chair Yonkers asked Ms. Moisio how much the total Georgetown tax debt is. Ms. Moisio said the total is $5,352,000. This is tax interest and lien. The delta payment is $3,109,000.

Mr. Mazzucco asked First Selectwoman Pemberton about legal action concerning the Gilbert and Bennett site. FS Pemberton said that there will be an appeal on Tuesday, December 17th in the Morning at the Connecticut Supreme Court. She said if this is successful, the Town still has a way to go concerning the property.

5. FINANCE DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Steve Gniadek addressed the BOF.

There will be a Cybersecurity seminar on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 3:00PM in the Town Hall Hearing Room. A sign-up sheet will be sent out. Mr. Barickman said to include the schools in the sign-up sheet.

The Town Audit hasn’t been completed yet. It is the Anthem IBNR (Incurred but not reported losses) issue that is causing the delay. A draft will arrive on Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 and will be forwarded onto the BOF.

A special meeting could be held to discuss the audit report. This meeting could happen before the Tri-Board on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019. Mr. Dean asked Mr. Gniadek to send a reminder notice to the BOF to meet at 6:30PM on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019.

Ms. Wyss asked about internal reviews brought up in the Audit. Mr. Gniadek said he is unaware of any internal reviews that are currently available. He said the draft will have a preliminary review.

Chair Yonkers asked about the timing of feedback for the Audit. Mr. Gniadek said that the audit needs to be filed by Tuesday, December 31st. He said that over the next two weeks, changes should be suggested through him so that the discussion at the Wednesday, December 18th meeting will be productive. The wording of the motion passed last year allowed for the Audit to be approved conditioned upon the auditor implementing any requested changes. The same process can be used this year, since the Board has no other meeting in January.

The budget calendar has been adjusted by one week.

The lighting upgrades for the Highway Department and West Redding Railroad Station are moving forward.

The old method of parking enforcement will be re-instated due to the cost of a ticket kiosk and the current method being too expensive. The old method utilized the Town’s Animal Control Officer to issue tickets and collect fees.

Bids have been solicited for snow plowing. The hourly billing rate for snow shoveling has changed from $75/hour to $45/hour. This is a cost savings of 40%.

There are two options for online Sexual Harassment Training for Town employees.

There will be a change in the Town’s Lock Box. This will happen in July of 2020. Pat Moisio, Tax Collector staff, and Mr. Gniadek will visit People’s bank tomorrow to see the Lock Box process.

The Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) process start date needs to be decided for road work and the Communications Upgrade Project. Matt Spoerndle of Phoenix Advisors quoted fees to be between $12k and $15k. Mr. Spoerndle suggested that the Town produce an Official Statement (OS) because this will help in securing more bids. The cost of not having (enough) bids is a delay in the receipt of the BAN funding.

Mr. Mazzucco asked Mr. Gniadek what the risk is if the Town does not produce an OS for the upcoming BAN. Mr. Gniadek said the risk could be that there are no bids for the BAN and the Town may have to internally fund the capital projects. He said that many investors aren’t funding BAN’s without an OS.

Mr. Dean asked about the $15,000 fee that was quoted. Mr. Gniadek said the legal fee is $6,000 and the other $9,000 goes to Phoenix Advisors for production of the OS, paperwork, and supervision of the bidding process.

Chair Yonkers asked what the total cost of both Capital Projects are. Mr. Gniadek said the total cost for the roads would cost $1.9m and the Communications project is $2.1m. He suggested that the amount for the BAN would be $1.9m for the roads and $1m for the Communications project.

Mr. Mazzucco asked what happens to unspent BAN funds. Mr. Gniadek said that as long as the arbitrage is managed there is no rush to spend BAN funds.

Mr. Mazzucco asked when the new projects will happen. Mr. Gniadek said in Spring 2020 road work will need to be completed. He said the Town needs to pay back the $550k borrowed for road work earlier this year.

First Selectwoman Pemberton discussed the Communications project. She said the Design phase is complete and the equipment specification needs to happen. Mr. Gniadek suggested that the amount for the BAN needs to be added to the January BOF agenda.

Chair Yonkers asked about follow-up concerning asphalt quality. FS Pemberton said the research on this issue hasn’t been completed with this. She said it’s a regional issue.

The Board urged the First Selectman to determine the total cost, and timing, of expected capital expenditures in time for its January meeting, so that the Board could begin to pursue a BAN in an appropriate amount.

A collection of the motions passed by the BOF over the past five fiscal years was created by the Finance Department. The BOF requested that this is shared on the Town website for transparency. Click here to view the motions.

6. TREASURER’S REPORT

Wes Higgins addressed the BOF.

Interest Income budget will track slightly ahead until January 2020, and then run slightly behind for the rest of FY 2020. The budgeted amount of $375K will be met assuming no additional rate declines.

The proposal for FY 2020-2021 Investment Plan has been shared with the BOF.

Mr. Higgins asked the BOF to endorse the investment plan so that it may be included in the budgeting process.

MOTION:
Mr. Barickman made a motion to approve the proposed FY 2020-2021 investment plan for the Town of Redding. Mr. Dean seconded the motion. Mr. Barickman said the risk sections of the investment plan are very important. Mr. Higgins said a policy procedure manual will be distributed to the BOF. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

7. LONG RANGE FINANCIAL PLANNING UPDATE

Mr. Higgins had a meeting on Wednesday, November 13th with Steve Gniadek, Scott Reiss (ER9), and Julia Pemberton. There were a number of points identified that could use improvement.

The Town’s Debt Management policy needs to be brought up to date. The last change to this policy occurred in 2010. Capital Projects between $25,000 and $100,000 could be funded by the CNRE account (Capital Non-Recurring). This funding would be replenished as time goes on.

The language of the policy was directed towards the Town. The updated language will include the schools and the Georgetown Sewer District.

The process to obtain funding for projects should be streamlined to allow for timely and effective management.

A document will be created to provide transparency for future capital projects.

Mr. Higgins discussed a spreadsheet concerning debt with the BOF. It illustrates the retirement of existing debt so that the effect on future budgets can be considered.

Ms. Wyss asked Mr. Higgins about estimated interest. She said there may be a mathematical error concerning the debt. Mr. Higgins explained the calculations used in the document.

Mr. Higgins discussed the seasonality of Capital Projects. Mr. Dean said the Communications project is not seasonal.

Mr. Barickman asked Mr. Higgins about guidelines for total debt the Town can engage in. First Selectwoman Pemberton said that the Town’s budget for debt payments will likely remain the same due to future capital project needs, despite the payments on current indebtedness.

Mr. Gniadek said the reality is that Towns live through BAN to BAN. He said that Mr. Higgins work is a snapshot of today’s reality, as opposed to future possibilities. A 12-month BAN is a realistic timetable to work with. Selectwoman O’Donnell reminded Mr. Gniadek and the BOF to determine when repayments may become required on 12-month BANs (as opposed to the usual 9-month BANs).

Mr. Higgins hopes to meet again and will inform the BOF of upcoming meetings.

8. UPDATE ON SCHOOLS CONSULTANT

First Selectwoman Pemberton said individual meetings have been scheduled. Susan Clark helped to establish these groups. A public meeting will be held before the Tri-Board Meeting.

Mr. Mazzucco asked about the agenda/questions that will be addressed at the Friday, December 6th meeting. Chair Yonkers said she will call Susan Clark tomorrow about this.

Mr. Barickman said that spontaneous responses are good but a structure would be helpful.

9. 2020 BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING SCHEDULE

Mr. Gniadek distributed the draft schedule.

Mr. Mazzucco asked Mr. Gniadek if more meetings could be added to the schedule. Mr. Gniadek said that these meetings would be Special Meetings that could happen at any time. First Selectwoman Pemberton explained how the BOS uses Special Meetings.

Chair Yonkers said Monday, April 6th is problematic. Mr. Mazzucco suggested changing this date to Monday, April 13th.

MOTION:
Mr. Barickman made a motion to approve the draft schedule with Monday, April 13th available as an additional meeting if needed. Mr. Dean seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

The schedule is as follows:
– Monday, January 27th
– Monday, February 24th
– Thursday, March 19th (Budget – Community Center)
– Monday, March 23rd
– Monday, April 6th (Budget – If Needed)
– Monday, April 13th (Budget – If Needed)
– Monday, April 27th
– Tuesday, May 5th (To Set Tax Rate – Community Center)
– Monday, May 18th
– Monday, June 22nd
– Monday, July 27th
– Monday, August 24th
– Monday, September 28th
– Monday, October 26th
– Monday, November 23rd
– Monday, December 14th (with BOE and BOS – Community Center)
Note: All meetings at 7:30PM at Town Hall Hearing Room unless otherwise noted above

10. REPORTS FROM INDIVIDUAL BOARD MEMBERS AS ASSIGNED

Mr. Mazzucco said he would like to discuss the Conduct of Meetings at the next BOF meeting. He asked Mr. Gniadek to add this to the January BOF meeting agenda. Mr. Gniadek asked Mr. Mazzucco to send him the wording of the agenda item.

11. CORRESPONDENCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

There were no correspondence and administrative matters discussed.

12. PUBLIC COMMENT
Christopher Tse, Gallows Hill Road, said the Consultant and the POCD are positive actions for the Town of Redding. He asked how the BOS and BOF use the data generated from the 2018 POCD. He also offered support from his group of Redding financial and business professionals to assist the boards with long-term planning and policy analysis.

Mr. Dean discussed the importance of the POCD and what has changed in its implementation in the past 40 years.

First Selectwoman Pemberton said that revenue generation is a challenge and that the Town is reliant on property taxes.

Mr. Mazzucco said the BOF isn’t prepared to take action at this meeting about utilizing the offer from Mr. Tse’s discussion group. He said he welcomes input from this group as well as any Redding citizens.

First Selectwoman Pemberton said this group has been attending BOS meetings. She said there is no formal process for community involvement in creating policy and long-term plans.

Discussion followed concerning how to move the Town of Redding forward.

MOTION:
Mr. Barickman made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Wyss seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:48PM.

Submitted by,
Zachary Smith

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