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Minutes of Board of Finance Special Meeting, 06/05/2018

AGENDA: Board of Finance Special Meeting

RECEIVED 06/11/2018 8:30am
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

Board of Finance
Special Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
8:40PM, Redding Community Center

Present: Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, Chair; Ed Miller; Rob Dean, Ward Mazzucco; Susan Clark; Jamie Barickman

Also present: Steve Gniadek, Finance Director; Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Superintendent Tom McMorran; Town Clerk Michele Grande; Members of the Public

The Chair called the meeting to order at 8:42PM

  1. Discussion of the Tuesday, June 5th Referendum Vote

The referendum results showed that the Region 9 Budget passed. The Redding budget was defeated by a vote of 1188 to 1184.
Town Clerk Michele Grande informed the Board of Finance (BOF) that a recanvas (recount) of the votes for the June 5th referendum must take place soon due to the small margin present in the vote. The BOF discussed their ability to set a budget without input from the other boards.
First Selectwoman Pemberton advised for speed in the decision-making process.
The BOF asked the Board of Selectman (BOS) and the Board of Education (BOE) their aailabilities to meet soon.

Mr. Mazzucco motioned that if a recount shows the budget passed, the BOF would set a mill rate at 31.81. Ms. Clark seconded. Chair Yonkers put the motion in abeyance. Following discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

  1. Public Comment

Jeff Fligelman of Pocahantas Road discussed a phone call he received from Bill Alvarez on behalf of the Redding Republican Town Committee.

  1. Discussion on Guidance

Chair Yonkers brought the motion to set a provisional mill rate if the recount shows the vote passed, as a back-up, into discussion. The discussion led to the motion passing. First Selectwoman Pemberton asked the BOF for guidance.
The Chair directed discussion to the First Selectwoman’s comment about guidance. The BOS budget and the Redding BOE budget were discussed.
Chair Yonkers asked to discuss numbers. She suggested a 0.05% decrease for the BOS and reduction to a 2% budget increase for the Redding BOE.
Mr. Miller asked to vote to reduce the BOS and BOE budgets by $5,000 each. Ms. Clark and Chair Yonkers proposed that this would not be a significant enough cut.
Mr. Barickman proposed a 6.3 increase in mill rate and advising the boards to find efficiencies and decrease cuts to services.
Ms. Clark wanted to bring the focus away from the “anti-school, anti-senior” discussion.
Mr. Dean proposed a 2% cut to both the BOE and BOS budgets.
Mr. Mazzucco recommended that a proportional cut doesn’t make sense, since the BOS has already proposed a reduction in spending from last year but the BOE proposes an increase.
Chair Yonkers stated she will entertain a motion regarding the $5000 cuts to the BOE and BOS budget proposed by Ed Miller. Ed Miller and Jamie Barickman voted yes, the rest of the Board voted no.
Mr. Barickman proposed a 0.3% cut overall to the combined BOS and BOE budgets ($148,000 reduction). Susan Clark seconded. Mr. Mazzucco was in opposition.
First Selectwoman Pemberton and Selectman Thompson commented about their budget. In particular, there were concerns about how the cuts could be combined across the boards given that the BOS does not know the details of the BOE budget and vice versa.
Rob Dean wanted to make an amendment to revise the budgets to not exceed a 2% total increase (including the Region 9 budget, which the voters have approved) over the previous year’s budget with a proportional cut to the BOS and BOF. Chair Yonkers suggested to withdraw the motion.
$172,788 cut would achieve an overall budget increase of 2% ($171,111)

Mr. Barickman motioned to provide direction to the BOS and BOE budgets to not exceed a 2% increase over last year’s budget.
Chair Yonkers will entertain a motion to propose to the BOS a cut of 0.05% and a cut to the BOE budget of 2%.
Mr. Barickman withdrew his motion.

Mr. Dean proposed a motion where the BOF provides guidance to the BOS and BOE to not exceed a 2% increase to the total town budget compared to last year’s budget. The cuts to these budgets will be proportional. The motion was seconded. Discussion followed. The motion passed with 4 yes votes (Yonkers, Miller, Dean, Barickman) and 2 no votes (Clark, Mazzucco).

  1. Public Comment

Amy Arnold of Wharf Drive discussed how the Republic Town Committee put out a message, but the DTC did not. Selectman Thompson responded to this. First Selectwoman Pemberton discussed the nature of this referendum and urged everyone to avoid personal attacks and negative comments.
Jeff Fligelman of Pocahantas Road discussed cuts that already occurred and what future cuts mean.

Chair Yonkers adjourned the meeting at 9:40 PM.

Submitted by,
Zachary Smith

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