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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Advisory Committee, December 16, 2004
DECEMBER 16, 2004
MEMBERS PRESENT: Wendy Ballinger, Chairman; Joe Armstrong; Al Bangert; Constantine Constantinides; Kathy Donahue; Dave Friedman; Tony Vegnani; Scott Roberts. MEMBERS NOT PRESENT: David Grace. ALSO PRESENT: Rick Agnew, Town Administrator; Mary Gallagher, Town Accountant; Joseph Strazdes, Shellfish Constable; Brian Stewart, Chief of Police; Edward Hurley, Fire Chief; Anthony Antoniello, Director, DPW;
1. CALL TO ORDER. Chairman Wendy Ballinger called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. in the Scituate Town Library meeting room.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA. Ms. Ballinger announced that Dept. 292, ANIMAL SHELTER, will be postponed. Ms. Ballinger proposed taking the budgets in a different order from that which is presented in the agenda. There were no objections to this.
3. REVIEW OF BUDGETS for 2005 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING. Ms. Ballinger reminded members that, as at last week’s Advisory Committee meeting on December 9, there will be no votes taken on budgets at this meeting but votes will be taken to hold budgets.
Dept. 295 SHELLFISH. Mr. Agnew said that this budget is level funded and that no cuts are planned. Mr. Constantinides asked about the season for shellfishing; Mr. Strazdes said that it is year round. Mr. Strazdes said that license fees are the same as they have been for years and that there is no limit on the number of licenses issued per year. Ms. Gallagher said that $1290.00 had been spent in from the FY05 budget. Mr. Bangert asked what would happen if this budget were eliminated altogether; Mr. Agnew said that the clam flats would be dug out. There was a discussion on the function of the Shellfish Warden and the testing of shellfish. Ms. Donahue said that the busy season for shellfishing is the winter season, which is more quiet for the Harbormaster’s Office Ms. Donahue asked if the shellfish warden’s duties could be taken care of by the Harbormaster’s office. Mr. Vegnani asked if the budget could be transferred to the Harbormaster’s office and function out of the Waterways Enterprise Fund. Mr. Roberts made a MOTION to hold the budget; the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman; on a vote of 7-1 (one abstention) the motion passed to hold the budget. Mr. Bangert made a MOTION to reconsider; the motion was SECONDED by Ms. Donahue. Ms. Ballinger said that a three-quarter vote would be needed to reconsider. Ms. Gallagher said that the Waterways Enterprise Fund is for boat users, not shellfishing. A three-quarter vote was not achieved, and the vote to hold the budget stood.
Dept. 220 FIRE. Mr. Roberts pointed out the increase in Schedule 0510, Personal Services. He noted the difference in Line 5851, Equipment, between the Town Administrator’s request and the Department request, is Fire Chief Hurley’s request for a fire boat. Mr. Roberts said that the Selectmen held the budget with no discussion. Mr. Vegnani asked about Line 5150, Holiday Pay. Mr. Armstrong asked about Line 5171, S.A.F.E. Program; Mr. Hurley replied that this covers the Fire Dept educational program in the schools and the open house in October. Mr. Friedman asked about major repairs needed; Mr. Hurley said that $30,000 is needed to replace a truck, and Mr. Agnew said that this is in the Capital Plan. He asked how much has been spent from the FY05 budget in equipment, Ms. Gallagher said about $28,000. Mr. Constantinides asked how much has been received for ambulance service, Ms. Gallagher said that a portion of it has not been collected and a number of bills are uncollectable. Mr. Agnew said that he met with members of the Board of Selectmen to decide which bills should be abandoned for various reasons. Where incorrect addresses had been used the Police Dept. has helped to locate the correct address and the bills are sent out again. Mr. Hurley said that 50 percent of Scituate’s population is on Medicare, which is high, and that a number of debts by these individuals are forgiven. Mr. Constantinides asked about the proposal for the fire boat, and said that a boat is needed that is controlled by the Fire Dept. but that it should be funded by the Waterways Enterprise Fund. Ms. Donahue said that the Harbormaster spoke highly of the efficiency of the Fire Dept and how well they have worked together. Mr. Hurley said that the inflatable they have is too small and can’t go out into the ocean with two men and dive equipment. Ms. Donahue asked if the Fire Dept. had received any grants as of late, Mr. Hurley said that a couple are in the works. He said that equipment grants are to enhance the budget. She asked about preparations being made for the Greenbush Line; Mr. Hurley said that the fire chief in Kingston said that he hasn’t noticed a major increase for their fire department since the layover station arrived there. Mr. Vegnani made a MOTION to hold the budget, this was SECONDED by Mr. Constantinides; the vote was 7-1 with no abstentions.
Dept 241 INSPECTIONS. Mr. Roberts said that he has had a conversation with Mr. Duggan and that he had requested funds for a part time zoning enforcement officer, but had withdrawn the request in light of the Town’s budget situation. Mr. Roberts said that there are many violations in Town that cannot be dealt with due to the heavy work load. Mr. Duggan said that he would like to see an agreement with the court so that his department can ticket violators. He said that he follows up on all complaints and that 90 percent comply. Mr. Agnew said that the Purchases of Service total should be $12,250 due to Line 5711, Mileage Reimbursement, being increased by $2250 as per the department request. Ms. Ballinger said that this budget was held by the Selectmen. Ms. Donahue said that it is important to give Mr. Duggan the support that he needs considering all the building that is going on in Town, despite the problems with the budget. Mr. Bangert asked about how the proposed condominium developments will affect Mr. Duggan’s department. Mr. Duggan recounted his time expenditure solely on the CVS building on Front Street. He said that he will not let public safety suffer, no matter what. Mr. Bangert said that he can’t see how the budget can be stable considering that building is up; Mr. Duggan said that he has kept his budget tight so that they can get the part time enforcement officer. The additional part time salary is $24,750. Mr. Constantinides asked about time restrictions on issuing permits once inspections are done; Mr. Duggan said that a permit must be issued within thirty days. Mr. Constantinides said that he supports the need for an additional part time salary. At this point, Mr. Friedman asked about what steps would need to be taken to request an override. Mr. Agnew said that on January 4 he will present his suggested cuts to the Selectmen and that only the Selectmen can decide if an override will be requested. Ms. Ballinger said that the Advisory Committee can ask for a joint meeting with the Selectmen and that the Advisory Committee can ask to be put on the agenda. Ms. Ballinger said that this could come up under New Business later this evening. Mr. Friedman said that he would rather vote on this budget rather than hold it to show support for the department request rather than the Town Administrator’s request. There was a discussion about the merits of voting or holding budgets. Ms. Ballinger guided the discussion back to questions for Mr. Duggan. Mr. Armstrong said that he also felt strongly about supporting Mr. Duggan’s request. Mr. Vegnani asked about Line 5309, Technical Services. Mr. Duggan said that it includes a contingency to raze a building in Humarock that is a matter of public safety. Mr. Vegnani asked about what the part time person would be doing; Mr. Duggan said that this would be someone who could assist with such matters as Oceanside Village, which may wind up with 60 regulations. Ms. Ballinger asked for comments. Ms. Donahue said she supports the department’s request; Mr. Bangert said the same, as did Mr. Constantinides and Mr. Friedman. Ms. Ballinger said that she would still like to see this budget held, as all budgets should be held so that priorities can be established later. She asked for a motion to hold; Mr. Vegnani made a MOTION to hold the budget; she asked for a second, and there was a further discussion about what to do with this budget. Ms. Ballinger SECONDED the motion. The motion failed on a vote of 2-6. Mr. Bangert made a MOTION to support a budget of $196,486; this was SECONDED by Ms. Donahue. This motion passéd on a vote of 6-2.
Ms. Ballinger said that Dept. 292, Animal Shelter, has been held due to the inability of Ms. Phippen to attend the meeting for personal reasons.
She moved on to 400 Public Works Budgets. Mr. Bangert briefed the committee on this agenda item. He said that there are four functional budgets: DPW Administration, Engineering, Highway, and Public Grounds. The budget request is for $2.1 million, an increase of 4.7 percent over the 2005 budget.
Dept. 421 DPW ADMINISTRATION. Mr. Bangert said that increases were in Line 5309, Technical Services, and 5420, Office Supplies. Mr. Constantinides asked about Line 5581, Clothing, and about Line 5140, Educational Incentive. Mr. Vegnani asked about Line 5308, Training; Ms. Gallagher and Mr. Antoniello said that the figure for 2004 seemed incorrect.
Dept. 411 DPW ENGINEERING. Mr. Bangert said that the budget is up eight percent mostly because of a request to replace the blueprint machine and related supplies. Fees generated are about $4000, compared to the capital outlay of $14,500. Mr. Agnew said that three of the salaries in this department are under contract. Ms. Donahue asked about whether the blueprint machine is really necessary in the Town Hall. Mr. Antoniello said that it is heavily used. Mr. Constantinides had a question about Line 5120, Overtime, and why it has increased so much. Mr. Agnew said that a lot of paving is going to be done in the next two years. Ms. Ballinger pointed out that this budget has already been cut unlike the other budgets the committee has looked at this month. Mr. Vegnani asked for an example of a project being overseen by this department; Mr. Antoniello said that all capital projects go through the DPW, and that the sewer project is a good example of one that Engineering is currently overseeing.
Dept. 422 HIGHWAY. Mr. Bangert said that Schedule 510, Personal Services, is flat. He said that Line 5242, Repair/Maintenance has been reduced by the Town Administrator, and that Line 5271, Equipment Rentals, which includes street sweeping and cleaning catch basins, has also been reduced by the Town Administrator. Line 5389, Interdepartmental Charges, police details are is now being charged into this department at $38 an hour. Line 5431, Equipment Parts, is up, and Line 5433, Roadway Maintenance Supplies, is up due to increased gasoline prices, and Line 5434, Traffic Control Supplies, is up due to replacement of traffic signs. Line 5481, Fuels and Lubricants, is also up due to the increase in gasoline prices. Mr. Vegnani asked about the street sweeper, Mr. Antoniello said that there is one person and one street sweeper, and that it takes two years to sweep all the Town’s streets. Mr. Agnew said that we will not have enough funds in this year’s budget to cover the cost of the fuel that has been used, so the request for 2006 is to cover this. Mr. Agnew went over items in Line 5433, Roadway Maintenance Supplies, and said that many of these materials are petroleum based; asphalt has gone up 10 percent. Mr. Friedman asked about space for the trucks, he said that we could do a lot more with that land going forward if a good design is used. Mr. Agnew said that we are restricted by the wetlands there. Mr. Antoniello said that the area will be cleaned up. Mr. Constantinides asked about whether the MBTA is going to take part of the DPW depot property, and Mr. Antoniello said that they will take part of the property. Mr. Constantinides asked where we get our fuel, and Mr. Agnew said that we have a contract with Sunoco.
Dept. 429 PUBLIC GROUNDS. Mr. Bangert gave an overview of the duties of this department. He said that the budget is up 1.8 percent, and that there are requests that are not supported by the Town Administrator. Mr. Bangert said that Line 5242, Repair/Maint Prop/Equipment, is up $11,000 to cover replacement of the windows at the police station, and he went over reductions made by the Town Administrator. Line 5423, Special Agency Supplies, \additional money is to be spent on the athletic fields and putting trash bags into the bins at the beaches. Line 5431, Equipment Parts, is up, and Line 5462, Landscaping Supplies, includes an increase for special mulch required for the playgrounds. Line 5481, Fuels and Lubricants, is also up. Mr. Vegnani asked about the trash bags for the beach, Line 5423; Mr. Antoniello said that they cost nearly $4000. Mr. Vegnani asked about Line 5309, Technical Services, and why it was so much higher in ’05. Mr. Bangert said that this was for an entomology consultant, for spraying for the midges at Musquashicut Pond.
Mr. Bangert summarized by saying that he recommends that the committee hold these budgets. A MOTION was made by Mr. Roberts to hold Department 400, the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Constantinides, all were in favor 8-0.
Dept. 423. SNOW AND ICE. Mr. Bangert said that it is difficult to place a figure on this from year to year. Mr. Vegnani asked about Line 5271, Equipment Rental, and Mr. Agnew said that sanders account for this figure; Mr. Antoniello said that a storm averages 10 hours to clear. A MOTION was made by Ms. Donahue to hold this budget, the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman, and all were in favor 8-0.
Dept. 424 STREETLIGHTS AND BEACONS. Ms. Ballinger said that the Selectmen did not vote on this. Ms. Donahue asked whether the subdivisions are responsible for their own lighting. Mr. Agnew said that they place the lights but that he then has half of them turned off. A MOTION was made by Mr. Vegnani to hold this budget, the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman, the motion passed unanimously 8-0.
On a question by Mr. Bangert, Mr. Agnew said that health insurance is going up 15 percent, pensions are going up 28 percent, and this accounts for most of the increases that have eaten up the revenues. Mr. Agnew said that FY07’s increase in the pension budget will be more in line with 3 percent. He said that an increase in building fees will create more revenues. Ms. Ballinger suggested that the Advisory Committee request a joint meeting with the Selectmen before their evening meeting on January 4. Ms. Donahue said that we should have an agenda to cover our points. Ms. Ballinger said that we can go in without advocating certain things but just to discuss the possibilities. Mr. Friedman made a motion for a joint meeting. Ms. Ballinger said that a motion does not have to be made for this, she will put in the request tomorrow. Mr. Agnew said that he will provide a list of his proposed cuts a week before.
4. OLD BUSINESS. Ms. Donahue updated the Committee on Waterways. Mr. Armstrong updated the Committee on affordable housing. Mr. Roberts said that a forecasting meeting is scheduled for Monday, and that St. Frances meetings will now be public meetings.
5. There was no NEW BUSINESS to discuss at this time.
6. A MOTION to adjourn the meeting was made by Mr. Armstrong, it was SECONDED by Mr. Roberts, all were in favor 8-0 and the meeting was ADJOURNED at 10:05 p.m.
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