Nov 3, 2015

Budget Committee Minutes Nov 3, 2015

Budget Committee: Steve Kelley, Diane Cummings, Muffy Copenhaver, Dann, Ron Bolt, Evan Nelson, Rudy Gelsi, Mike Stevens, Eddy Moore, Carolyn Murro, and George Kirk
Town: Milt Bratz, Karen Noyes, Andrew Dorsett, George McNamara (Public Works/Highway Department), Ryan Glass (Recreation Director), Mike Spauldling (Grounds Superintendent).
Media: Darin Wipperman, Courier Editor, and Kathy Doriski, LATV

  • The minutes of the 27 October meeting were approved as submitted.
  • Changes to the Mission Statement were discussed and will be voted on 11/10.

Public Works/Highway Department:
George McNamara stated that, in anticipation of a higher rate of construction, there were a lot of increases in materials in the department’s budget this year. There has also been an increase in fuel consumption related to the higher tempo of activity. George explained that he delegated responsibility for projected management to individual team leaders, and the staff has really bought into this idea.
George provided two handouts, which were (1) an ambitious departmental work schedule for 2015, noting that most projects were in fact completed with some exceeding the plan, and (2) the paving improvements schedule for 2015 to 2017, indicating that priorities were quite fluid. Priorities are based primarily on safety concerns, although appearance plays a role for sidewalks.
George indicated that he is anticipating a large increase (~22%) in the cost of salt this winter. The projection for construction is a 3-year plan that commenced in 2015. He is not expecting any need to addition bridge maintenance for the new pedestrian bridge for a few years. Andrew added that he is expecting a late spring/early summer construction, but that there are still some remaining hurdles regarding permitting and road re-alignment.
George is expecting completion of the new highway garage this month and occupancy in December. Cost for heating and powered this structure is unknown at this time, and Karen is using the default numbers as the proposed budget. George indicated that he will be working with the fire and police departments to try to get a good contract on door maintenance.

Parks & Recreation
As with other departments, P&R are proposing a 2.25% salary increase for the two full time positions, but this has not yet been approved by the Commissioners. Karen addressed a question about an increase in property-liability insurance by indicated that there were an unusually high numbers of town-wide claims this year. The Town is investigated other vendors. The proposed budget for grounds keeping is up $2K, due in part to additional “small” park areas that need to be maintained.
P&R regularly reviews fee schedules to make sure revenue is keeping pace with expenses. The department will probably never become self-sufficient, but does strive to provide a broad range of services that are mostly covered by user fees. Summer Day Camp now runs for 10 weeks and the after-school program has 60+ participants. After a discussion of the $6,000 currently given to P&R annually from the SAU, which has not changed in many years, the following motion (Diane/Evan) passed 7-0 with one abstention:
“The Budget Committee requests that the Town coordinate with SAU84 to revisit the school’s contribution to the cost of sports field grounds keeping.”
Mike and Ryan both commented on the dilapidated condition of the “green” building at Remich Park. Many structural/safety deficiencies have been identified and the cost of repairs far exceeds the value of the building. The building is still operational but at a much reduced capability. The Commissioners would like to get public input on what kind of replacement building is desired before planning is undertaken. A motion (Ron/Diane) passed unanimously:
“The Budget Committee requests that Recreation Director Glass contacts the Parks & Recreation Commissioners and invites them to make a presentation on the current condition and future plans for the building at Remich Park.”
The pool building renovation is complete and ADA compliant. The pool itself, however, needs some expensive repairs.

Town Presentation, Continued
Karen reviewed a number of smaller budgets not previously covered, including: Welfare, Patriotic Purposes, Bridges & Sidewalks, Streetlights & Hydrants, Animal Control, the Opera House, and debt service.

Next Meeting: 10 November, 4 PM, Community Center
Ron Bolt, Secretary