Minutes of the Heath Finance Committee Meeting
March 16, 2010
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: Assessors’ Office, Sawyer Hall
Present: Jan Carr, Ned Wolf, Don Freeman, Dave Gott, and Jeff Simmons
Handouts: Agenda, Announcement of the 2010 Hampshire & Franklin Municipal Conference, Dave Gott’s minutes of the February 8th meeting, Tax Collector’s Budget Request, and Board of Health Budget Request
Members agreed to a budget process. As expected by the BOS one or more members will attend each budget hearing and speak up as needed. Following the hearings, Gloria will compile the requests into a budget document that she will send to the BOS and to us. We will then meet with the BOS to go through the entire budget line by line.
There was some discussion of Mike Smith’s wanting to replace the front-end loader. Although the 1999 truck is also a concern, members agreed that the priority should be the loader which might be replaced by a decent second hand machine. While Chapter 90 money might help, we need to be prepared for the cost of such a purchase. Regarding the salt/sand account, members wondered whether there might be some money left in June.
As for Tracey’s request for new software, members spoke of her interest in MuniWare, the cheapest alternative, as well as her liking the remote access feature of Vadar which would allow her to do work at home. Members affirmed the value of Tracey’s continuing as Accountant.
At 7:35 pm the FinCom adjourned to join the BOS meeting in progress. Tax Collector Betty Nichols is recommending an increase in expenses from $3,405. to $3,555. and an increase in tax taking/liens from $1,995. to $2,400.
The Board of Health would like to renegotiate their contract with the FRCOG agent. Although the plan at one time was to have the agent do each and every camper/trailer inspection, the reality has been different. Board of Health members think that holding their hands through a few inspections would be sufficient. BOS members encouraged the move to renegotiate but advised requesting the same amount ($9,483) for a FRCOG agent as last year as a precaution.
Sheila reported that the House Ways and Means Committee has said that counter to the Governor’s wishes local aid will be cut by 4%; moreover the MTRSD will receive $250,000 less which means about a $20,000 loss for Heath.
At 8:20 pm the FinCom returned to the Assessors’ Office. Members noted that the $94,000,000 estimate for the total evaluation of the Town was reduced to $90,000,000.
Although Don has asked Val for some background on this, members agree that more explanation would be helpful. Don and Jeff will attend an Assessors’ meeting in an effort to get a handle on the Total Valuation so that the FinCom can do its job. Also, Don will ask Joe Boudreau about this matter.
Looking ahead to the issue of raises for Town employees, members spoke of the need to determine the effect on the budget of raises of various amounts.
Turning to the School District, members agreed to ask the BOS at the next meeting about the raises given to the Business Manager and the Director of Personnel Development.
As for the draft of the Annual FinCom Report, members commended Ned for his work and made some suggestions. There was a consensus to allow Ned to incorporate the suggestions and submit the report signed by all members to Gloria.
The meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.
Ned Wolf, Secretary