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Minutes of Board Of Finance, 02/28/2022

AGENDA: Board of Finance

RECEIVED 03/03/2022 10:47am
Kimberly Keil - Redding Assistant Town Clerk

Town of Redding
Board of Finance Regular Meeting Minutes
Monday, 2/28/2022
7:30PM Via Zoom

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

Also Present:
Steve Gniadek, Finance Director
Wes Higgins, Treasurer
Pat Moisio, Tax Collector
John Ford, Assessor
First Selectwoman, Julia Pemberton
Michael Thompson, Selectman
Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman
Steve Stafstrom, Pullman & Comley
Chris Parkin, Redding Board of Education

Members of the Public
Chair Yonkers called the meeting to order at 7:36PM.

1.      To Approve the Minutes of the BOF Meeting held on Monday, 1/24/2022

Motion:
Vice Chair Mazzucco made a motion to approve the minutes of the BOF meeting held on Monday, 1/24/2022. Ms. Wyss seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

2.      Public Comment
Mike D’Agostino stated that the minutes that were approved were the Monday, 1/24/2022 minutes. The date that was written in the agenda is incorrect.

Motion:
Ward Mazzucco made a motion to amend the agenda so that the Executive Session item follows the first Public Comment. Ms. Gifford seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

Motion:
Vice Chair Mazzucco made a motion to invite the BOF, BOS, John Ford, Steve Gniadek, Steve Stafstrom, Pat Moisio, and Wes Higgins to Executive Session to discuss pending litigation with Meadow Ridge. Ms. Gifford seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

3.      Executive Session: Pending Litigation with Meadow Ridge
The BOF started the Executive Session at 7:40PM.
The Executive Session was adjourned at 8:56PM.

4.      Tax Collector’s Report
Pat Moisio addressed the BOF.
As of today, 100% of collections for FY 2021-2022 have been received. Collections are ahead $260,000 with four months left in FY 2021-2022.
A tax sale for eleven properties has begun. Total possible collections will generate $628,000 additional tax revenue.
There is proposed legislation at the State Level to cap the motor vehicle property tax mill rate at 29 mills. The State would cover lost revenue due to this cap.
Chair Yonkers asked Ms. Moisio about the tax sale process. Ms. Moisio said the tax sale will most likely begin in May 2022. It takes 12-14 weeks to send out proper notifications to the property owners and the public.

Motion:  Mr. Mazzucco made a motion to add an agenda item to tonight’s meeting. The agenda item is to entertain a request from the BOS for a transfer from the unassigned fund balance for police overtime and legal expenses. Mr. Barickman seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

5.      Finance Director’s Report
Steve Gniadek addressed the BOF. FEMA Storm Isaias – Tropical Storm Isaias Reimbursement has been successfully accepted by FEMA. The funds ($170k) will be sent to the State, who will forward to the Town. We expect to receive these funds within 2 weeks.

FEMA Covid-19 – The Covid-19 Reimbursement of $24,000 is still in process and will be reimbursed 100%.

LoCIP (Local Capital Improvement Projects) – The Town received $35,000 for the approved Community Center Playground project. The Community Center Pavilion project is underway.

FY 2020-2021 Audit – The FY 2021-2022 audit has been completed and transmitted to the State on Monday, 1/31/2022. The audit has been posted to the EMMA (Electronic Municipal Market Access) website. This is a useful tool to view financial data from municipalities.

FY 2022-2023 Budget – The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, 3/22/2022. This will be a tri-board meeting (BOF, BOS, and BOE).

Lock Box – The Town has contracted to transfer processing from Webster Bank to People’s United Bank effective 7/1/2022. This will coincide with the 7/1/2022 tax collections. The Town will continue to use Webster Bank for all other banking functions.

Discussion followed concerning the FEMA reimbursements for Tropical Storm Isaias and Covid-19 and where these funds should be allocated.

Motion:  Mr. Dean made a motion to deposit the FEMA reimbursements for Tropical Storm Isaias and Covid-19 in the General Fund. Mr. Barickman seconded the motion. There were four yes votes (Dean, Barickman, Gifford, and Yonkers) and two no votes (Mazzucco and Wyss). The motion carried.

6.      Treasurer’s Report
Wes Higgins addressed the BOF. Interest earned for FY 2021-2022 should increase between $10 & $15k. FY 2022-2023 will have a significant increase in the projected earned interest.

7.      Grand List – Oct 31, 2021
John Ford addressed the BOF.  There was an overall increase of 1.5% to the Grand List. There has been a 23% increase to motor vehicle assessments due to market conditions. Discussion followed concerning Motor Vehicle assessments,burden on residents, and whether motor vehicles can have a separate mill rate from land & buildings.

8.      Budget 2022-23 Update
Mr. Gniadek updated the BOF on various dates for Budget deadlines. First Selectwoman Pemberton stated the BOS will be adopting a budget proposal for the BOF public hearing on the next BOS meeting.The overall proposed increase for the Town of Redding FY 2022-2023 budget is 2.37% over the FY 2021-2022 budget. This is a dollar amount of $364,724.00. The major components of this increase are:

–          $105k increase in contractual salaries for the Police and Dispatch
–          $31k increase in contractual salaries for the Highway Department
–          $43k increase in Retirement Fund Contributions
–          $36k increase in the Town’s contribution to the Mark Twain Library
–          $50k increase to the Contingency line item

These increases will be discussed at the next BOS meeting for public input to be considered.

Chris Parkin addressed the BOF.
Employee Benefits and Special Education represent 80% of the increase for FY 2022-2023.
The overall budget for FY 2022-2023 is slightly over $24 million. There is an approximate $1 million increase over FY 2021-2023. Health Insurance is a continuing discussion. There are three proposed options: State Plan, Self-Funded, or Fully Insured. The % proposed increase is 4.38% over FY 2021-2022.

9.      American Rescue Plan (ARP) Working Group Update
Ms. Gifford addressed the BOF.

The ARP Working Group has had several meetings. There is a template for proposals on the Town Website.
There are three proposals currently: a dry hydrant, senior services associate, and United Way funding.
A compliance plan is underway, and the working group is planning on sending postcards to residents to inform them about the ARP.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) is Covid Relief Money that can be used for certain functions.

10.  Future Meetings Format
Chair Yonkers described the three meeting options, In-Person, Virtual, and a Hybrid Model. Discussion followed concerning which format the BOF should use.
The BOF will remain virtual until further notice.

11.  Other Business

Motion:
Mr. Mazzucco made a motion to approve a supplemental appropriation of $460,000 for Legal Services and Police Overtime with funding from the Unassigned Fund Balance subject to BOS approval. Ms. Gifford seconded the motion. Discussion followed concerning freezing spending, making specific spending cuts, or using the Unassigned Fund Balance. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

12.  Public Comment

Chris Parkin made two statements.

The first is that the BOE had a record-setting health insurance claims month for January 2022 of $400k. The BOE is adjusting the FY 2021-2022 budget to avoid additional appropriations.
The second is that there is a proposition at the State level to extend the virtual meeting requirement.

Motion:

Mr. Dean made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Gifford seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:12PM.
Submitted by,
Zachary Smith