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Minutes of Board of Finance Special Meeting, 06/26/2018

AGENDA: Board of Finance Special Meeting

RECEIVED 06/28/2018 11:50am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Board of Finance Special Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – 7:00PM
Redding Community Center

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

Also Present:
Steve Gniadek, Finance Director; Pat Moisio, Tax Collector; Members of the public; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Wes Higgins,Treasurer

The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:01PM.

To Approve Minutes of BOF Meetings held on April 23, 2018, May 8, 2018, May 17, 2018, June 5, 2018, and June 13, 2018.

Ms. Clark made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from Tuesday, April 23, 2018. Mr. Mazzucco seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.

Mr. Mazzucco made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Ms. Clark seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.

Mr. Mazzucco made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from Thursday, May 17, 2018. Ms. Clark seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.

Mr. Mazzucco made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Ms. Clark seconded; The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.

Mr. Mazzucco made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Mr. Dean seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.

1. Public Comment
The floor was opened and there was no public comment made.

2. Tax Collector’s Report
Ms. Moisio stated that tax collections ended on a good note. The budget to collect was $46,105,000 and the collected tax was $46,700,000.

The Town of Redding’s tax sale is in October.
The tax Office is ready for billing. The vendor for tax bills has been changed to address the Town’s need. She stated that if the MIL rate is set tonight, the tax bill can be out by Saturday, June 30th. The new vendor is Quality Data Service, Inc.

Mr. Mazzucco stated that if the vote does not pass tonight, there is a procedure where the BOS can set a provisional MIL rate. Ms. Moisio said this is a possibility, but billing is costly and doing multiple tax bills adds up.

3. Finance Director’s Report
Mr. Gniadek stated that the Town Aid Road (TAR) second payment of $135,000 was received on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

Mr. Gniadek stated that the BOS is switching its healthcare provider from from Anthem to Connecticare on Sunday, July 1, 2018. Annual premiums will be reduced by approximately $200,000 and there is a 98% provider to provider comparison with Connecticare. If a doctor is not included in the plan, Connecticare will pay the doctor as if they were part of the plan and attempt to include them as part of their plan.

Mr. Gniadek discussed year-end expenditures. The year-end expenditures estimate does not account for variance amounts less than $5,000. The salary numbers also have not been included yet. The spending freeze has been successful so far. Legal expenditures are complete for the month of June.

Chair Yonkers asked about how the spending freeze would be applied in July. Mr. Gniadek stated that First Selectwoman Pemberton would make that decision. He also stated that it would be a day-to-day assessment. He reminded the board that the BOE surplus is part of the Town surplus.

Mr. Gniadek discussed town revenue streams. Tax collection and interest collected on town investments are the two major forms of revenue. There will be a shortfall in state aid. Mr. Gniadek estimated that the town will be in a revenue surplus of approximately $300,000. Any surplus will automatically be an addition to the unassigned fund balance.

Mr. Gniadek stated that the town received a Certificate of Achievement for the June 30, 2017 CAFR Report.

Mr. Gniadek stated that the auditors have their last option year. The town will go out to bid next year for a new vendor.

4. Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Higgins discussed the May 2018 and June 2018 Treasurer’s reports.

Mr. Higgins projections assumed no tax receipts in July. The Webster bank account has $6,119,000, and there will be checks signed for $325,000. Based on this, Mr. Higgins assumed the Saturday, June 30, 2018 balance would be just under $5,800,000.

Mr. Higgins discussed weekly forecasts. He compared the $5,300,000 spent this year with the 2017 amount of $5,900,000.

Mr. Higgins was conservative in his assessment. He said the Accounts Payable for July is still up in the air.

Chair Yonkers asked about market volatility and how that affects the Towns finances. Mr. Higgins stated the market volatility is not immediately relevant for the town’s investments. He said the Federal Reserve’s actions are more relevant for the town’s finance. He stated that interest rates will most likely continue to rise. He also stated he has a presentation about how the Town’s investment strategy works. He would share it with the BOF if they are interested.

Mr. Mazzucco asked Ms. Moisio if citizens can pay money towards a future tax bill. Ms. Moisio said citizens may pay their taxes before a mill rate is set. The payment is considered an advance payment on the current year’s tax bill.

Chair Yonkers asked if the long-term planning meeting date has been set. Mr. Higgins has not yet set the date, but he does have a draft presentation. He discussed capital expenditures, the Town’s assets, and the depreciation schedule.

Ms. Clark suggested there should be a discussion about the optimal use of town assets. She discussed how town buildings are used. Selectwoman O’Donnell suggested that this would be a good discussion for the BOS. Ms. Clark suggested there should be a sub-committee involving the BOF, BOS, BOE, and the planning commission addressing the optimal use of town real estate. Mr. Dean discussed the history of the police station and Georgetown’s potential for town use.

Chair Yonkers asked Ms. O’Donnell about having this topic on the BOS agenda for their next meeting. She stated that the BOF would be happy to attend this conversation.

Chair Yonkers encouraged the BOF to attend the long-term planning meeting.

5. Discussion of 2018-2019 Budget and Draft Mill Rate Schedule
Mr. Mazzucco suggested setting a provisional mill rate. Mr. Barickman responded that the provisional mill rate would be 31.72.

Mr. Mazzucco made a motion to set a provisional mill rate of 31.72 to be effective only if the referendum passes the budget. Mr. Barickman seconded the motion. Discussion followed. The vote was unanimous, and the motion passed.

Chair Yonkers suggested taking a recess at 7:35PM to wait for the results of the referendum to come through. The board agreed.

6. To Set Mill Rate for 2018-2019 Budget, If Approved at Referendum
The referendum passed. There were 1,308 yes votes and 968 no votes.

7. Correspondence and Administrative Matters
At 7:54PM, Chair Yonkers asked to reconvene the meeting. Chair Yonkers opened the floor to discussion about administrative matters.
Mr. Mazzucco asked the board what strategies can be used to help make budget decisions in a more inclusive and effective way. Mr. Dean discussed the accessibility of data. He suggested that the budget data for the last 20 years should be available online for analysis. He stated that demographic trends are only visible when looking back far enough in the past. Mr. Dean suggested that the BOF has been close to the numbers but not close to the trends. He said the BOF should not be book keepers or accountants, but managers of the town’s finances.

Mr. Mazzucco suggested that the number of employees in a school or the number of students in a classroom are not readily available. Ms. Clark said that there is no such thing as an absolute piece of data and there is always a bias. Mr. Mazzucco stated that Dr. McMorran’s best estimate for class sizes 10 years ago was class pictures, and that there must be a better tool to access this data.

Mr. Barickman said data are critical and that the BOF could potentially have a web page or something else that allows the public to make queries. Ms. Clark said that data produced by the BOS or BOE are their property, and that the BOF does not own them. She stated that it is not necessarily the responsibility of the BOF to convey that information. Mr. Dean brought up being managers of the town again. Mr. Barickman suggested that it may not be the BOF’s responsibility, but this is an opportunity to inform voters and bring a longer-term vision together. He mentioned the importance of process.

Mr. Barickman suggested that the BOE and BOS should have a three-year operating budget forecast for their budgets. The second and third years are estimates and not hard numbers or commitments. Mr. Miller discussed the complexities of forecasting and how the boards operate. Mr. Dean said the public needs to understand what a forecast implies. He also stated that the budgeting process is moving forward with no management tools. Ms. Clark stated that she would like to see the budgets being based on forecasts and not on the prior year’s budget. She said that no entity spends exactly the amount that is budgeted for the various costs it incurs. Mr. Miller discussed functions and the difference between school supplies like books versus media like computers. Mr. Barickman said that the budgets are heavily influenced by the type of software being used to calculate them.

Ms. Clark said that everyone is defaulting to a conversation about information when a conversation about process is what needs to be addressed. Mr. Mazzucco stated there is a great amount of qualitative information and not quantitative information.

Selectman Thompson addressed the BOF about the referendum vote. It passed with 1,308 yes votes and 968 no votes.

Chair Yonkers asked to table this administrative discussion to set the mill rate.

Chair Yonkers asked to add the discussion “budget process” to the next BOF meeting agenda.

8. Public Comment
David Pattee of 15 Pine Mountain Road asked that an independent committee should be established to go to each BOE committee to ask questions about the roles that staff fulfill at the various schools. Mr. Mazzucco discussed having a day where the BOE would answer these kinds of questions. Selectwoman O’Donnell stated that the BOS has this every year.

Chair Yonkers asked Mr. Barickman to contact the BOE and Dr. McMorran about informing the public of the roles and responsibilities of the staff at the schools.

Chair Yonkers adjourned the meeting at 8:20PM.

Submitted By,
Zachary Smith

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