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Minutes of Board of Finance, 02/24/2020

AGENDA: Board of Finance

RECEIVED 02/27/2020 11:34am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

TOWN OF REDDING
BOARD OF FINANCE
MONDAY, 2/24/2020 MEETING
7:30PM 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:
Dr. Tom McMorran, Superintendent; Vicki Cram, Region 9; Mike D’Agostino, Region 9 Board of Education Chair; John Ford, Tax Assessor; Steve Gniadek, Finance Director; Wes Higgins, Treasurer; Chris Parkin, Board of Education; First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton; Selectwoman Peg O’Donnell; Members of the Public

Chair Yonkers called the meeting to order at 7:30PM.

1. TO APPROVE MINUTES OF BOF MEETING HELD ON MONDAY, 2/3/2020
Vice Chair Mazzucco suggested 13 edits to the minutes for the Monday, 2/3/2020 BOF meeting. They are as follows:

On item 3, paragraph 6, the sentence, “First Selectwoman Pemberton said the case is going to the…”, should be changed to, “First Selectwoman Pemberton said the case has been argued before the”.

On item 3, paragraph 7, the sentence, “He suggested that Ms. Moisio shows up at two meetings…”, should be changed to, “He suggested that Ms. Moisio show up at two meetings…”.

On item 4, paragraph 6, the sentence, “The Selectman’s Budget…”, should be changed to, “The tentative Selectman’s Budget…”.

On item 4, paragraph 9, the sentence, “The schools have many operating leases as compared to the town, which has less than five”, should be changed to, “The schools have many operating leases as compared to the town, which has fewer than five”.

On item 5, paragraph 2, the sentence, “The Town is $13,000 ahead on interest and $1.3m…”, should be changed to, “The Town is $13,000 ahead on interest revenue and $1.3m”.

On item 6, paragraph 1, the sentence, “FS Pemberton said that it is a full-time position”, should be changed to, “FS Pemberton said that it could be a potential full-time position”.

On item 6, paragraph 2, two sentences need to be edited. The sentence, “Chair Yonkers asked First Selectwoman Pemberton about the Facilities Manager position”, should be changed to, “Chair Yonkers asked First Selectwoman Pemberton about the potential Facilities Manager position”. The sentence, “FS Pemberton said that it is a full-time position”, should be changed to, “FS Pemberton said that it could be a full-time position”.

On item 6, paragraph 3, the sentence, “Mr. Mazzucco asked if this position is created, isn’t there a possible risk of increased…” should be changed to, “Mr. Mazzucco asked if this position is created, isn’t there a likelihood of increased…”

On item 6, paragraph 10, there is additional information that should be added. It would read, “For Consistency in accounting, Mr. Mazzucco urged the BOF to put the SSOs in the BOE budget. In the discussion that followed, it was noted that adding the SSOs to the BOE budget could be offset by the town absorbing certain maintenance costs for the BOE”.

On item 7, paragraph 4, there is additional information that should be added. It would read, “He distributed material illustrating the significant difference after 10 years of 1.5% budget increases and 3% budget increases”.

On item 8, paragraph 1, there is additional information that should be added. It would read, “Chair Yonkers asked Mr. Barickman to look into the issue”.

On item 9, paragraph 3, there is additional information that should be added. It would read, “Establishing the trust could reduce the Town’s unassigned funds balance but enable the town to secure higher long-term returns. The report depicted options for initial investments of varying amounts”.

On item 12, paragraph 1, the sentence, “Chair Yonkers said there will be a report on the Debt Policy in the future”, should be changed to, “Chair Yonkers said there will be a report on the Debt Policy by Mr. Barickman in the future”.

MOTION:
Mr. Dean made a motion to approve the minutes of the Monday, 2/3/2020 meeting with the changes mentioned by Vice Chair Mazzucco. Ms. Wyss seconded the motion. Discussion followed concerning how minutes should be captured in writing. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

2. PUBLIC COMMENT
Vice Chair Mazzucco read a letter from a resident on Ridgewood Drive, Diane Smith. The letter discussed the condition of her road and damage to her property. First Selectwoman Pemberton said that the issue in this letter has been ongoing and is being dealt with.

3. FINANCE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. Gniadek addressed the BOF.

Cybersecurity Workshop
27 Individuals attended this workshop. Mr. Gniadek said all town employees with a town email address should attend a cybersecurity training. A second workshop will be scheduled in a few months.

Chair Yonkers asked Mr. Gniadek if the next training could happen at 4:00PM instead of 3:00PM so that school staff and BOE members could attend. Dr. McMorran said that school staff receives training on cybersecurity.

Sexual Harassment Training
– Department Heads have been sent the necessary information
– A notice has been attached to every employee paystub
– The Sexual Harassment Policy in the Employee Handbook has been rewritten and approved by the BOS
– An individual from CIRMA will train the Highway Department and Transfer Station employees. A future training will happen for the Parks and Recreation Department

Workers Compensation
The majority of CIRMA claims are slip/fall claims. A training for slip/fall prevention will happen in the future.

Gas and Diesel
The Gas and Diesel contract for FY 2020-2021 was put out to bid and three quotes were obtained. Santa Buckley Energy has the lowest bid, resulting in a combined annual savings of approximately $14k over the current contract.

Station Road Bridge
LoCIP (Local Capital Improvements Projects) application for funding ($409,105) has been submitted and approved. LoCIP funding is a reimbursable expense. This means the Town must pay up front and request reimbursement.

Legal Notice
The BOF needs to submit a legal notice for their public meeting by Monday, 3/2/2020.

4. TREASURER’S REPORT
Mr. Higgins addressed the BOF.

Interest revenue collected in January totaled under $64k. For FY 2020, the total interest revenue collected is $264,525.00. Interest revenue is running ahead of budget currently.

Operating Cash Balance is below last year at the same time. Two large taxpayers submitted payments later than expected, affecting the balance.

5. 2019 GRAND LIST
Mr. Ford addressed the BOF.

For 2019, there was a 0.28% gain in the Grand List.

The 2019 Realistic Grand List @99% is $1,543,867,685.

Vice Chair Mazzucco asked Mr. Ford if the large tax appeal that is currently ongoing will be resolved soon. Mr. Ford said this will not be resolved anytime soon.

Mr. Barickman asked Mr. Ford if there are any assessment processes that have changed recently. Mr. Ford said that the assessment processes have been the same since the 1960’s.

6. SELECTMEN’S AND REGION 9 BUDGET UPDATES
First Selectwoman Pemberton addressed the BOF.

The overall increase for the BOS budget is 1.74%. If salary increases were removed, the actual increase would be 0.86%.

After the last revaluation of the Town, there was discussion to take money and set it aside to pay for the next revaluation. The total for three years would be $180,000 ($60,000 per year). The next revaluation is 2022. This year could be the first year to pay the $60,000.

Below is an overview of the BOS budget:
– Public Safety, 3% increase
– Public Works, 2% increase
– Transfer Station, negative
– Public Health, 3% increase
– Park and Rec, 4%
– Insurance, 7%
– Debt Service, negative
– Transfers, 3%
– BOE, unknown
1.74% total increase

This is a department breakdown:
– BOS, flat
– Probate Court, regional
– Registrars, negative
– Finance, 3% increase
– Assessor, 3% increase
– Tax Collector, 1% increase
– Treasurer, 74% increase
– Computer Capabilities, flat
– Special Legal, negative (this could be risky)
– Town Clerk, 2%
– Board of Ethics, flat
– Conservation., $16k increase for maintenance of open space
– Heritage Center, 7% increase (retirement and replacement of personnel, increase in hours)

Mr. Dean asked why there is a larger than normal increase for the Conservation Department. FS Pemberton said $10k is set aside for Couch Hill Preserve. The Town is awaiting a Farmland Trust grant that could reduce this line item.

– Zoning Commission, 2% increase
– Tree Warden, flat
– Town Office Building, flat

Mr. Dean asked FS Pemberton why the boards and commissions do not have legal budgets. FS Pemberton said that the legal budget covers all departments and boards/commissions. Mr. Dean explained the importance of proper legal opinions.

– Total Public Safety, increase (salaries)
– Volunteer Fire Companies = Paramedic Intercept (Ambulance Service)

Chair Yonkers asked FS Pemberton about Fire Department consolidation. FS Pemberton said that Georgetown wouldn’t be included in a consolidation due to their tax status. She said that the savings from a consolidation would be equipment related. It is unlikely that there would be a consolidation due to the different cultures at Redding Fire District 1 and Redding Fire District 2.

Ms. Wyss asked FS Pemberton about the lease for a communication tower. FS Pemberton said the original plan was for the town to use the antenna at 100 Old Redding Road for free. The agreement for this tower has changed, and the cost of using this tower would be $1,900 a month/$24,000 a year for a five-year lease. Other options are currently being explored.

FS Pemberton said that WestCOG is doing a regional performance incentive grant program for a feasibility study on consolidating public safety personnel. Redding, Wilton, Ridgefield, Weston, and New Canaan are all participating in this.

– Highway Department, 1.71% increase (Snow Removal, Ice Control, Equipment Maintenance and Repair)

Mr. Dean asked FS Pemberton to clarify the difference between the Highway Road Repair budget and Capital Projects. FS Pemberton said that the Highway Road Repair budget is for maintenance work (pothole filling, cracksealing, etc.) and that actual road reconstruction is a capital project using a capital fund, Town Aid Road money, or another funding mechanism.

– Transfer Station, 2% increase (salaries)
– Public Health, 3% increase
– Mark Twain Library, 4% increase
– Park and Recreation Maintenance, 4% increase
– Park and Recreation, 5% increase
– Employee Benefits, 7% increase
– Medical Insurance = 4%
– CMERS (Connecticut Municipal Employees Retirement System) increasing 2% (Pension)
– Debt Service, negative

All of this adds up to a 1.74% overall increase ($260,533).

– Reduction in health insurance cost
– Reduction in consultant’s line (TBD)
– Reallocation of maintenance personnel in conjunction with facilities director position

FS Pemberton said that the proposed Facilities Director position could be a full-time position. She said if it will be implemented currently, a Building Department employee would fill the position with extra hours.

Vice Chair Mazzucco asked First Selectwoman Pemberton what this position will do and if a periodic consultant would be a better idea. FS Pemberton said it is a management and planning position. This would require an analysis of town buildings and their systems and the ability to develop a maintenance plan to address them.

FS Pemberton addressed some additional changes, resulting in a total overall budget increase of 1.97% ($295,677).

Mr. D’Agostino addressed the BOF.

The Region 9 budget will increase by 0.98% ($236,423).

7. BOE CHAIRMAN UPDATES
Mr. Parkin addressed the BOF.

The Redding BOE budget will increase by 3.47%. The breakdown is 2.11% special education and 1.34% for everything else.

Mr. Parkin discussed two capital projects, computer leasing and a phone system replacement, and if either of these items would qualify for LoCIP funding. The BOF discussed how this could work.

Mr. Parkin asked the BOF if the Worker’s Compensation/Liability Insurance could be entirely covered by the Town, along with the CMERS payments for the BOE. He said if both of these items were part of the BOS budget, the BOE would be eligible for more state funding. Discussion followed concerning the feasibility of this and how it would affect future budgeting.

8. DEBT POLICY REVISION
There is no update.

9. RESTRUCTURING AND COOPERATION WITH OTHER BOARDS
Saturday, March 7th 10:00AM all board chairs.

10. REPORTS FROM INDIVIDUAL BOARD MEMBERS AS ASSIGNED
There were no reports from individual board members as assigned.

11. CORRESPONDENCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
There were no correspondence and administrative matters.

12. PUBLIC COMMENT
Chair Yonkers opened the floor to public comment.

Christopher Tse, 111 Gallows Hill Road, the facilities manager could provide support for cost synergism.

Mike D’Agostino Region 9 BOE Chair, said the town should fully commit to the Facilities Director position. He said that if it isn’t a full-time position, it won’t be successful.

MOTION:
Chair Yonkers made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Vice Chair Mazzucco seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:11PM.

Submitted by,
Zachary Smith

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