Finance Committee Meeting
March 2, 2005
In attendance: Eric R. Munson, Jr., Wes Greene, James Demming, Mira Munson, Margaret McClelland and Ted Locke.
Absent: Ralph Ledger and David Barney.
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Eric R. Munson, Jr.
Regular Business was first on the agenda:
The supervisor of the Highway Dept. did not complete his list of vehicles and equipment as requested and this item was tabled to the next meeting.
Margaret passed out a revised budget which was corrected by removing $35,000 from the Fire Dept. Budget which was for a vehicle. This was held for a capitol budget.
The articles to be discussed at the Hearing and Special Town Meeting were reviewed. It was noted that these articles will all be detailed in the “Tattler” which will be out in the next day or two.
The Finance Committee minutes of February 3, 2005 were approved with one correction – The Police Dept. requested 3 radios not 4.
Ted Locke announced that he and Mira would meet with the Fire Chief on Friday, March 4, 2005 at 1:00 p.m.(as he works evenings and cannot attend the Finance Committee meetings) to review his budget and would report back to the Finance Committee at their next meeting. The key question was to ask the Chief why the budget had increased significantly over last year.
Ted reported that the Regional School Committee had further reduced the school budget as Southwick had to increase their minimum contribution. Tolland’s share is now down to $245,000. Margaret will revise the budget with this number. Ted reminded everyone that this number may still change. It is all dependant on the State budget. He reported that there are expectations that we will get more transportation money.
Ted also reported that the figures we had regarding the ambulance cost were not correct. Tolland would pay $9000 for 5 years instead of $4500 for 10 years. Margaret will revise the budget with this new number.
Margaret informed the Committee than Jim Podolak from the Bureau of Accounts with the Dept. of Revenue would meet with the Selectmen, the Finance Committee, herself and the Assessors on April 4, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. to review Tolland’s 2005 – 2006 Budget and tell us where we stand regarding the tax rate and how to proceed.
The Finance Committee then proceeded to review areas of concern in the budget.
Joanne Munson Duval attended the meeting on behalf of the Dump Committee and reported on their recommendations and answered questions for the Finance Committee. Key points were as follows:
Special User income was based on actual use – amount of garbage in gallons, the per pound actual cost and then the results were doubled.
Recycling costs have increased significantly in the past year.
A discussion occurred on the proposed increase in the cost of stickers (the Dump Committee had proposed $77 per year). The group finally decided that the stickers would be $50.00 per year per household and that more money would come out of appropriations to balance the dump budget.
A discussion of how to charge the Tunxis Club (as a Special User) for the dumping of their recycling material followed. In the past the Club has not been charged for this privilege. It was decided to charge the Club for recycling on the basis of one half of the regular dump sticker price per household at the Club. Other individuals who only recycle would also pay one half of the sticker price for dumping recyclables ($25.00 per household).
It was also decided that the price of bags would go up $1.00 (to f$15.00 for large bags and $8.00 for small bags)
It was also decided that the Dump Committee should check on the price of a scale for next year.
Joanne agreed to redo the dump budget with these decisions in mind and to inform the Dump Committee of the results of this meeting.
The Technology Budget (#52) was then discussed. Margaret passed out and reviewed a more detailed plan to go with the technology budget. Only the cost of the computer for the assessor’s was debated. This cost was dropped to $1671.92 from $2281.92 due to the double counting of an item. The Treasurer’s request for new financial software may cost more than the $6,000 requested as Margaret is just beginning to check out costs. The reason for the expense is that the current software will no longer be supported in the near future by the company that designed it. Several towns including Tolland will therefore be forced to find new software for their financial programs. The tax collector , assessors and treasurer also have software requests due to state
mandates for updates. Other costs are basic – like the cost of the copier contract, internet and email service , technical support , the website and updates to windows and Microsoft office to meet current needs.
Wes reported that he did not get a chance to talk with Eric Munson III about the Police Dept. Budget. He agreed to do this by our next meeting.
The Finance Committee talked briefly about budget #48 (Fuel) and asked that $8000 be removed ( as it was already accounted for in utilities) dropping the budget to 23,721.40.
Margaret agreed to check electrical costs for the past year and increase the total by !4% for 05-06 in the with the WMECO’s announced increase. Margaret would then revise the utility request (#8) accordingly.
We were reminded by Ted that the #53 Emergency Complex and Town Gargage number of $45,000 would be $50,000 as we would roll over the $5,000 budgeted for the current year.
It was decided that the next meetings of the Finance Committee would be March 16 and March 30 (preparation for meeting with Jim)
At the March 16 meeting, we will review salaries, the Fire Dept. Report (Ted and Mira) , the Police Dept. Report (Wes) and the Highway Dept. Plan of Work and Budget. Wes also agreed to call Dave Barney to see if his ability to participate on the Finance Committee had changed in some way.
The Finance Committee meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Mira K. Munson