Present: Alvarez (Chairman), Clark, DeSalvo, Dolan, Mazzucco
Also present: First Selectman Pemberton, Selectmen Karvelis & Thompson, Finance Director Gniadek, Treasurer O’Donnell, five members of the public, and the videographers
Chairman Alvarez called the meeting on November 24, 2014 to order at 7:30 pm in the Hearing Room of the Redding Town Hall.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance accept the minutes of the October 27, 2014 meeting as amended. Mazzucco, DeSalvo. Approved. Unanimous.
Amendment: page 1, under Finance director Report, bullet point 5, should read as follows: confirmed with Town Counsel that adding to the CNRE…..
TAX COLLECTOR REPORT
Mrs. Moisio was not present, but Mr. Gniadek provided her report. 53.9% of the budgeted taxes have been collected as of today, compared with 54% last year.
Mr. Alvarez asked about the status of the Water Pollution Control Commission advances. Mr. Gniadek reported that the WPCC requested a second advance of $60,000 last week. This brings the total advances for this fiscal year to $120,000 (total allocation for the year is $237,350).
FINANCE DIRECTOR REPORT
Mr. Gniadek reported on the following:
1. Budget planning has begun. The Board of Selectmen budget workshop is scheduled for January 9, 2015 at 8 am in the Town Hall Hearing Room.
2. Audit Report: the draft is expected to be received. Mr. Gniadek plans to review and distribute the initial draft to Board of Finance members on December 1, 2014. He suggested scheduling a special meeting with a presentation by the auditors prior to the December 15 joint meeting.
Motion: move that the Board of Finance schedule a Special Meeting for December 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm in the Redding Community Center for a presentation of the draft 2013-14 audit report by the auditors. Mazzucco, DeSalvo. Approved. Unanimous.
3. Transfer Station Dumpster Roof: In 2013, an expenditure of $192,845 was approved at a Town Meeting to provide a cover for the dumpster to satisfy the DEEP requirements. This amount has been included in the most recent BAN. As a temporary measure, covers were manually put on the dumpsters and they are removed each day manually. After consulting with both the DEEP and the Town’s engineering firm, it has been determined that this “temporary” process is adequate to satisfy the DEEP Notice of Violation. Mr. Gniadek recommended that with the next BAN or Bond in June 2015, that the amount be reduced by $192,845. Mr. Alvarez expressed concern about the manual process of removing the cover and replacing it each day. Mr. Gniadek reported that he and Public Works Director Hanson believe the process will be efficient and problem free.
4. Draft Elderly/Senior Tax Benefit: Tax Assessor John Ford provided a draft of an affidavit of eligibility for review. The draft has been reviewed and approved by Town Counsel. Mr. DeSalvo questioned the definition of income and what was to be included. Mr. Alvarez suggested that the form should include the State of Connecticut’s Form M-35H which details the calculation of income.
5. Long Range Financial Planning Committee: Mr. Gniadek reported that the Committee met on November 19, 2014 to update the 5-year schedule. The Board of Selectmen would like the Capital Budget approval to be held at the same time the budget goes to referendum.
a. Town Requests: include road reconstruction, Highway department vehicles, Building Department vehicle, Police radio replacements and Animal Control Van, shelter for Topstone Beach & RCC fields, 2017 Revaluation and RCC conversion of grass field to turf. Mr. Alvarez noted that the allocation for the revaluation process spreads the cost over three years, but should be in the operating budget. Some items are still under review and may not move forward at this time.
b. Redding Board of Education: Mike D’Agostino (School Facilities Committee) and Kim Ajavananda (Chairman Board of Education) addressed the requests. These requests included design work for the HVAC at both schools, with work being done in subsequent years, bleacher, gym floor and padding replacement at JRMS, paving and curbing at both schools, electrical wiring work at RES, Security entrance, sidewalk and west wing steps work at RES.
Mr. Alvarez asked about the long term plans for addressing the declining enrollment. Mrs. Ajavananda reported the Long Range Planning Committee has looked at many options and has asked the Facility Committee to look at the feasibility of converting RES to accommodate the entire school population if JRMS is closed. She does not think a school closure would be considered until 2020. The Committee has also looked at options of closing sections of the buildings, or renting out use of portions of the buildings. Director of Finances Peggy Sullivan is working with an architect for a review of actual savings from the closing of a school. More information is expected to be available in the next month or two.
Mr. Alvarez requested a report on the past spending for HVAC issues at the school. Mr. D’Agostino explained the plan to remove the unit ventilators from JRMS and replace them with rooftop units that will be more efficient and will provide greater inflow of fresh air. He noted that these types of improvement would be useful if the building is closed for school use, but available for alternative uses.
c. WPCC: most of the items on their capital list were under the $25,000 threshold.
Mr. Alvarez opened the meeting to public comment.
Peggy O’Donnell, Chestnut Woods Road: Mrs. O’Donnell questioned why the Topstone (Steichens Pond) Dam was not included on the Capital Plan. First Selectmen Pemberton responded that this is scheduled for a re-evaluation before moving the project forward.
Steve Hunter: Chestnut Woods Road: Mr. Hunter noted that the MBR requirement provides an opportunity for the schools to retool programs, bring the facilities up to date and improve.
Jeanne Wendschuh, Deer Spring Road: Mrs. Wendschuh commented that when the Board of Education formulates a plan to address the declining enrollment; the entire community needs to be a part of the discussion.
Mrs. Pemberton noted that available space at JRMS could provide space for town use, i.e. the Building Department or Police Department.
Treasurer O’Donnell submitted a written report of the cash balances. Four CDs are coming due this month, with the first rolling over from a 61 basis points to 59 basis points CD. No new CDs are planned for this month. The MBIA account, a small account, has now been closed. Mrs. O’Donnell is working on the 2015-16 budget.
Steve Hunter, Chestnut Woods Road: Mr. Hunter asked if Mr. Mazzucco would share the correspondence he was passing around. Mr. Mazzucco noted that it was notes he was accumulating during the meeting.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Finance meeting be adjourned. Mazzucco, Yonkers. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 8:53pm
Submitted by Mary Maday, Recording Secretary